WhatsApp worsens Varanasi weavers’ woes
- The mainstay of Banarasi sari designed by weaving with expensive natural yarn like Chinese silk and cotton.
- An organic and handmade process earlier, is now a dismay of weavers. Technology through power looms in Surat ensure that designs of synthetic and polyester yarns are produced in bulk in no time.
- Traders in Varanasi are taking pictures of these designs on their smartphone & ‘WhatsApping’ copies of it to traders in Surat where an automated looms copy and print these designs on fabric and send saris back to traders in Varanasi in large quantities.
- Surat can produce 5 times the volume and cheaper compared to Varanasi with its abundant power supply, yarn and cheap labour.
- The cost of the inexpensive Surat fabric benefits customers as they can buy intricate designs of the Banarasi sari.
- Technology has revolutionized the Banarasi sari industry, which lagged for yrs due to competition, dependence on manual techniques and government apathy.
- WhatsApp enables traders in Surat and Varanasi to collude to sell copies of their world-famous designs which is a loss for weavers. No design is safe with technology abound.
- Earlier, a design would last for 3 yrs, now hardly for 3 months.
- Ill Use of Technology