Bajrang Basappa Mutnalli had finished his education till the 10th standard when he took up weaving as a profession. However, being a part of a generational tradition of weaving, he already knew the ropes when he was a child. “My father would strictly tell me to join him in weaving when I came back home from school. Earlier, I wasn’t very interested, but as time passed, I understood that this would feed me in the future. That’s when I started paying keen attention. I learned by watching him weave.”
His father would tell him that weaving is their family tradition, and the only way by which they have sustained themselves for decades together. Bajrang’s disinterest waned quickly when he realized the importance of the craft not just to the family, but to himself in providing them with a secure future. Today, he is the fourth generation of weavers in a family that started with handlooms and in keeping with changing times, has now shifted to semi-automated power looms.
The lockdown, as is the case in most weaving clusters, hit Bajrang sir and his community badly. They suffered in the initial part of the period when relief efforts were few and far between. However, in their area, the government stepped up and mandated that weavers be paid a sum of Rs. 300 daily for working between 10 AM and 6 PM. He tells us that a lot of weavers could survive because of this provision. He had taken a loan in December, for which payments were waived after the lockdown hit. Apart from that, the cluster has faced heavy losses due to falling prices in the markets.
Bajrang sir and the weavers in his community are struggling to get back on their feet fully post the lockdown. All the conditions of this period have affected them in such a way that they are unable to recover even the production costs of the beautiful sarees that they weave. Here’s where you can help out - make sure you buy your sarees from them on our website, and you’ll be helping the hands that have been weaving our traditions for generations.
Bajrang sir has woven some beautiful designs like the popular Bandhan saree, available in a variety of colours, only on shreni.net. You can click here to shop for Bajrang sir’s designs!