: Mahoba weavers in a web of woes
The 800-odd weavers’ families of Belatal village in Mahoba are struggling for survival. “We have not taken full meal in the last three years,” said Rekha Rani, a weaver, whose husband migrated to Gujarat after he did not find work in the village.
“The weavers of Belatal have no land. They spun khadi for the Gandhi Ashram but after its closure in 2001, they are facing a tough time,” said Abhishek Singh, whose NGO Arunoday Sansthan works for the weavers.
“After a long struggle, the Gandhi Ashram was reopened in 2005. Only nine months later, however, it was shut down, as the authorities claimed there was no market for the products,” said Singh.
Every house in the village has a charkha or a handloom, as the weavers are proud of their craft. Yet, they never received due attention. Singh recounted an old incident.
“Once at an exhibition in Delhi, a minister from Mahoba asked the organisers to show him the best khadi. He was shocked to learn that the best piece came from Belatal, a village in his own constituency,” he said.
It also confirms that while weavers of other areas with greater market linkages have captured the markets, Belatal has lagged behind. Tourist spot Khajuraho is only 50 kilometres from Mahoba. “While we have no work here, cloth of inferior quality is sold at a high price of Rs 160 per metre in Khajuraho shops,” said Manni Lal, a weaver.
Courtesy : Expressindia.com