Threatening Gaya’s Pitambari Weaving Tradition As Handlooms Give Way to Powerlooms

In Hindu custom, corpses are covered with saffron-colored coverings called pitambaris before being cremated. They are also used in Mahadev’s religious observance. The fabric, which is highly valued in Hinduism, is produced in large quantities in Gaya, Bihar. Made in Manpur on a sizable plot of land on Patwa Toli and Shivcharan Lane. Another name for it is Mini Manchester of Bihar. These locations produce Pitambari, which is exported to West Bengal and Jharkhand, among other states. But the market is contracting for this clothing, which is hurting the company. Only three members of the group continue to use handlooms to create Pitambari, according to the local weavers of Patwa Toli. These garments are no longer woven using conventional techniques but rather using powerlooms.

Thirty to forty workers used a handloom to weave pitambari a few years ago. Less profit and increasing labor costs are two of the main causes of this company’s demise. A small number of Tanti community members continue to use handlooms to create pitambari. To create one pitambari, it takes two days and costs Rs 3. It retails for Rs. 6 at wholesale. The weavers make Rs. 3 in profit. Pitambari is produced from the power loom in large quantities with little labor in this scenario. The local weavers assert that while it is produced in large quantities, the quality has degraded.

Few individuals create Pitambari using handloom, according to Satyendra Kumar Paan, a weaver connected to the Pitambari industry. He begs the government to take the handloom weavers’ concerns seriously.Not even a loan is given to us. We are unable to grow our company because of this. The company brings in between Rs 300 and Rs 400 a day, according to Satyendra Kumar Paan, who spoke with Local18.

Using power looms, 1.5 lakh pieces of pitambari are produced each month on average. They are made of Khadriya, polyester, and cotton materials. In the wholesale market, it costs anything between Rs 5 and Rs 50 per piece. According to media sources, Patwa Toli employs over 10,000 people to operate on 12,000 power looms.

In addition to these, this business employs about 10,000 people in a variety of roles, such as textile polishers, thread sorters, and dyers. This company employs more than 25,000 households and provides for them.

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