The Damned of India

Varanasi Sari, a six yard long piece of cloth, signifies the elegance, charm, grace and beauty of Indian women, with almost eight hundred years old tradition, has an important niche in the cultural contours of India. For centuries Varanasi was the cradle of ancient Indian tradition in the tailoring of the Sari. Today however, the lives of the weavers (or creators) of these wonderful saris are not as beautiful as the creation itself. Majority of small artisans and their families, though mostly on the brink of survival (on average they work 10 -12 hours a day to earn about 0.5 dollar), are dependent on this traditional craft for a living. In the era of globalization, the traditional art of hand weaving of the Baranasi sari is under serious threat by electrical looms and also by new technologies coming from China. The life of the weavers, passing through a time of crisis, is characterized by abject poverty, chronic malnutrition, varied health hazards and even starvation death and suicides.