Source:Textile Review

Assam, the state having highest number of handloomsin India is unique with its silk weaving culture, as the handloom sector. Flyshuttle handlooms and 120 hook jacquards are benignly used in the Assam for silk weaving. Traditional designs and products still are the major type offabrics woven for the domestic market. Presented here is an overview of silkweaving in Assam detailing the sericulture in the state, hand loom industry, structure of thesilk handloom sector with a special emphasis on Kamrup district, the issueshindering its growth and the interventions needed for the improvement of thesame.

Handloom history in India can be traced back to Indus Valley civilization. Several era of Indian history mentions the flourishing trade oftextiles in domestic as well as export markets. India is currently the world'slargest producer of handloom products with a total production of more than5,000 million meters in the year 2005. Among the products produced in India, the most celebrated ones include Jamdani, Ikkat, Kota, Banarasi and Patola. It is estimatedthat there are about 12.5 million people dependent on hand loom weaving in India. In the entire country, there are more than 38 lakh hand looms. In northeasternstates alone, there are more than 15 lakh handlooms. Detailed statewisedistribution of 470 handloom clusters across India is provided by the 1995-96survey as given in the following table 1. It is worthy to note thatamong the 20 major clusters of India (with handlooms more than 50,000) 14 of themare in Assam state.

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About the Authors:

C.M.Bajpeyi is associated with Regional Development Office,Central Silk Board,Guwahati ,Naveen.V.Padaki and S.N.Mishra areassociated with Regional Silk Technological, Research Station, Central silkboard,Guwahati

Originallypublished in Textile Review: February 2010