24 November, 2020

Looms Of Doom

A foreign fabric has silenced the looms of the local weavers, reduced them to poverty and killed an art

Tribhuvan Tiwari
Looms Of Doom
Raziya Biwi is angry. "My three-year-old son is dying of starvation. My husband lies unconscious beside him. My remaining six children are now beggars. The youngest feeds only on sugar and water as I'm incapable of feeding him." Over the past two years, she and her husband Nurool Haq have done everything from selling her jewellery and a small plot that they owned; the money is gone now and they are starving. "Who knows who will die and who will live?" she ponders miserably.

Raziya and her husband were once the pride of their village. The owner of five looms, he made enough to keep all nine members of his family content. Neighbours recollect how pretty she looked every Id in her best clothes and jewellery. Now she stands in shreds. Nurool is suffering from acute anaemia according to doctors. "But we have no money for the treatment," sighs Raziya. They have been out of business for the last 27 months as there are very few takers for the Varanasi silks they wove for a living.

Three doors away, Mohammed Umair, another weaver, tried being a little more enterprising but to...


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