17 January, 2021

Silk Route For The Pacific

A carnage of silkworms makes a saree. An entrepreneur now weaves ahimsa in it.

Silk Route For The Pacific
Did you know that 15 silkworms are killed to produce 1 gram of silk? A silk sari with all its elegance and shimmer comes at a price of 50,000 silk worms. While you do hear animal rights groups protesting the use of leather products, we seldom hear a voice against the manner in which silk is produced.

One little known voice of compassion comes from Hyderabad, where Kusuma Rajaiah—after years of research—now produces silk without killing the worms. A senior technical officer with APCO (Andhra Pradesh Handloom Weaver’s Cooperative Society), Kusuma’s search for eco-friendly and humane silk dates back to the ’90s when Janaki Venkataraman, wife of former president R. Venkataraman, asked for a silk sari that did not involve the killing of worms on her visit to APCO. The same request cropped up in 2000, when Amala Akkineni, actress/dancer and animal activist, visited APCO.

Silk comes from the cocoons of the silk worm (bombyx mori). In the silk industry, cocoons are killed by steaming or dropping them into boiling water when they...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Mythily Ramachandran

Latest Magazine

January 25, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section