The Carpet Industry of Bhadohi (Sant Ravidas Nagar)-An Overview
BHADOHI renamed as Sant Ravi Das Nagar also known as ‘carpet city’ is a flourishing town situated in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh with a population of around 15,54000 people. It is internationally known for the hand knotted and woolen carpets manufactured there. The town is located on Varanasi-Delhi railway line, about 70 km to the West of Varanasi-a city known for its religious importance. The town is well connected by road and rail to other parts of the country. Although carpets are manufactured in the entire area known as the ‘Mirjapur Bhadohi belt’ Bhadohi is the main trade centre. The carpet industry has played a big role in the economic development of the town.
While many Indian handicrafts succumbed to the challenges of technological modernization, the carpet industry-one of the urban handicrafts-has not only successfully withstood the onslaughts of technological development, competition from china and Pakistan and global recession as well but has flourished over the years. This is due to the adaptability that the industry has shown to new situations.
PROCESS OF CARPET MANUFACTURE
Carpet manufacturing involves a good deal of specialization. The whole organization opens up employment opportunities to a large number of workers, and represents a tightly knit nexus of interrelationships among the people engaged in the industry at different levels. The carpet manufactured in Bhadohi are not all woolen. The warp is made of cotton twisted thread and knots of from different parts of the country such as Jhansi, Agra, Kanpur, Fatehpur, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Gwalior. The local names of the cotton thread and woolen yarn are soot and aanga, respectively.
The different processes in carpet manufacture include picking and sorting of wool, carding, spinning, dyeing, weaving, trimming and washing. The tasks of picking and sorting of wool, and carding and spinning, are not much in vogue today. Some people still do this work in their own homes. A rough quality of yarn is supplied to the small manufacturers. The manufacturers are supplied with ready-made woolen yarn by different woolen mills also. Woolen yarn is dyed in different colours as required in the design of the carpet. Previously, wool was dyed by indigenous methods but nowadays it is done through mechanized dyeing plants as well as kilns also. A major part of carpet manufacture is weaving. Carpet weaving is carried out on looms by weavers in their own homes. In the Bhadohi carpet industry alone about 25 thousand rural artisans are employed. Most weavers have their own looms. Only a few do not own their looms and weave on looms owned by master-weavers or commission agents. Usually, commission agents or manufactures advance some money to weavers to install looms. Such weavers are contractually bound to weave the carpet for those, who have given them the money in advance. This contract is only socially sanctioned and there is no formal legal agreement. The loom on which the woolen carpet is woven is of a vertical type consisting of two rollers-one for rolling the woven carpets and the other for holding the warps. In Bhadohi, the lower roller is generally place in a trench, half a foot or so, in the ground. The length of the trench varies with the length of the roller which also depends on the size of the carpet. The weavers hand over the woven carpet to the manufacturer who gets it trimmed or clipped by the clippers.
The carpet industry of Bhadohi manufactures artistic floor carpets and rugs of fascinating designs, which are a big attraction in the foreign markets. The tradition of carpet manufacture in Bhadohi goes back to at least 400 years. “Ain-Akabari” (1600 AD) by a Abul Fazle is the oldest record in which reference appears to carpet weaving in the area. The hand-knotted carpets of Bhadohi constitute 95 percent of the total carpet export from India. Only about 10 percent of the total carpet produced in India is locally consumed. The export of Indian carpets has reached to its peak at Rs. 3674.86 crores in 2006-07 (U.P. share Rs.2829.64 crore.) but global slowdown and demand of traditional Persian carpet specially from Europe and US jolted the carpet industry. With some improvement in global economy the trade has seen rising trend in 2010-11 to tune of Rs. 2992 crore (U.P. Share 525.87 crore.) Industry has all hope that the value of export would not go below last year figure in the current year. In 2010 the carpet manufactured in bhadohi region has also received geographical indication (GI) tag.
Shailendra Kumar Singh
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