Category: ViewPoint

India Wakes to Chinese Make

The association of Chinese products and Indian market is a long story. History has witnessed material import from China, especially Chinese silk, making way into silk industry. Chinese sarees are not new to Indian woman and so are the Lord Ganesha idols, electronic goods and toys. The six months ban imposed on import of toys from China is a direction taken to protect the domestic industry; a much needed step on the part of government to help the survival of various struggling domestic and cottage industries in India.

Indeed, the Chinese goods have become the current fad everywhere, especially for its low pricing. However, import of Chinese fabric has not struck the right chord with the saree industry.

In fact, sarees, unique to its Indian roots, is today a part of international culture, with blend of foreign material in an Indian connection. But it made news when silk sarees, especially Banarsi, the undisputed queen of every woman’s wardrobe, saw the weavers on a protest march last year as the Chinese sarees, a cheap imitation of authentic Banarsi, enjoyed better sales.

Named after the holy city of Varanasi or Banaras, this exclusive Indian treasure, is today facing the tunes of social and economic change. Though the finance minister has given India an assurance that we belong to secure zone, the industries have started facing the heat. The still ongoing economic crisis is fast spreading its tentacles to every form of business, choking the profit makers.

“Business of Banarsi saree has come down due to economic recession around the globe in many ways. Because all the fabrics made here are luxury items. All those who purchase these are the ones who are rich, either from India or from abroad…. People, who buy the stuff eventually, are affected by this financial crisis. And therefore, this influences us,” said Maqbool Hasan, a Banarsi saree exporter in a news report.

Rich in traditional and Persian motifs, brocades with intricate designs created from gold and silver thread, once upon a time Banarsi sarees found a world wide platform during the rule of Mughals.

The rulers, known for their flamboyance, encouraged silk weaving to that of the cotton. The glorious history survives through some of the traditional patterns and designs that are hard to duplicate; and a saree lover has a variety to choose from, be it pure silk (katan), organza (kora) with zari and silk, georgette, or shattir.

Little wonder then that the millions of people in the city are dependent on saree weaving, which is a kind of cottage industry in Varanasi. These traditional families of weavers burn their midnight oil to make the saree from home.

The poor, mostly illiterate weavers have to confront many a situation to weave the prestigious sarees. From the moneylenders to the climate and the availability of raw material to the laborious working conditions, everything has an impact on the physical and mental state of about 15 lakh people in the Banarsi saree industry.

The specialty of Banarsi saree is, in short, the skilled labour that is as distinct as the place itself. The rest of raw materials, including zari, silk and dye are imported from other places.

Interestingly, the raw silk used for weaving Banarsi sarees has always had a foreign connection. Earlier, it was Japan and now China has taken over the reign. Raw silk is not only imported, but also smuggled and sold in the black market.

Despite the fact that Karnataka and Gujarat have taken over as the primary providers, Chinese silk is still giving a tough competition. According to a 2007 news report, raw silk from China is thought to contribute up to 50 to 60 per cent of the sari-weaving market in Varanasi.

Similarly, when the weavers or artisans are spending days together to weave a saree, powerloom owners have made things simpler with computer-assisted copying of designs. They are producing cheap imitations of original Banarsi at various places. To add to the misery, these imitation sarees are said to be enjoying better profit margins.

With the sale of sarees going down and rising inflation making things difficult for the suppliers to meet the demands, artisans are feeling the heat in their sole profession.

“The business is not doing well. We work for 15 days and often there is no work for another 15 days. Initially, the labour charge was Rs 500 and today, it is only Rs 400,” said Javed, a weaver.

The struggle for existence has taken a toll on such weavers.

Instead of testing their patience further, they have opted for alternate means of livelihood. While some are working at construction sites and as rickshaw pullers, others are migrating for better job prospects.

Thanks to globalisation, Indian goods have better exposure internationally; nevertheless, the doors have also let in scenes of insecurity.

The Indian handloom and cottage industries have emerged stronger after every unwarranted crisis for years and the past sows seeds of hope for the Banarsi saree industry. The decision to ban Chinese toys may be just the first step, but it also goes to show that domestic industry still holds primary concern. It is easy to find skilled labour, but maintaining the tradition needs attention and care.

Published in:Merinews.com… A Merinews Pick…
India wakes up to Chinese make by Deeya Nayar-Nambiar

Help Yourself : Chapter Of Life

A self-help book comes in print. It becomes the best seller. The book shows us the things we know and guides us to follow it. It is a source to help you to lead a better life. Many read and follow the book to be better human beings and to be able to improve their life. But many others turn critics and ponder on as to why it had to sell when there is nothing new in the book.

Agreeing with the critics, when put to think, you would be the first to comment, “The writer has just written all that we know.” But still you do not put it to practice.

You are right when you say you know it all. The only difference is – these are the simple lessons of life you do not take into consideration as necessary. Instead, you love to find fault with others, and read the book with enthusiasm hoping to improve your own life.

You are blind to your imperfection. You do not even take time to think, “Maybe I went wrong somewhere?” Indeed it is human tendency to feel jealous and indulge in self-pity when you miss a great opportunity; or when going gets tough. Yet, often you do not mend your way. You like to complain and hold someone else responsible for your mistakes.

The chapters of life are very simple.

– Love yourself first, before anything else.
If you learn to love you, as who you are, loving others will follow soon. You may be talented, skilled and extremely efficient; but you feel your friend or sister is doing better. In this unwanted competition you fail to see your achievements. You lose out to yourself, giving others an opportunity, to further pull you down.

– I came alone, I will go alone. Others are needed for my existence.
Often you are faced with situations where you are all alone. When you fall sick, you are the only one who can take care of your body. Family and friends act as support systems, which help you to recover. This is just one example. There are many that you face on a day to day basis.
The moment you realise the significance of your existence, you will learn to depend on yourself before looking out for someone to depend on. This will help you to become stronger to face tougher situations.

– Look at the positive side of things.
There are times when, whatever you lay hands on becomes hard to achieve. You refuse to give up, and fight back, because you know that you are gaining in the process. If you stop seeing the glass as half empty, you have miles to go. But always remember to be positive, read, write and spread positivity around. You will feel good and happy too. Even people you come across will be happy to have you around.

– Learn to accept the situations and people as they are.
You will never have an answer for, “Why this happened to me?” You do not have that much time to ponder and brood over it. The best solution then would be to accept it the way it is, and learn to adjust and accommodate yourself to every situation.
For example, you work really hard on your office presentation that could decide your promotion. It is well received and appreciated by your management and co-workers. But when the promotion list is out, your name does not appear in it. You feel miserable, sad and unhappy. You wish not to return to the office anymore. When you do not have a job in hand, instead of creating a scene in public, think and act.
Accept the situation as it is. And continue to be a part of it, till your turn comes – a new job if lucky, otherwise change your outlook and work for the organisation.

– It is easier to change the way you see things than change the situation or people.
You may question “Why only I need to change, when others are not making any attempts?” Simple, you have to live in the situation with the people. Of course, it is easy to teach children the book of life, but once you are in the path of being an adult or adulthood, making attempts to teach is futile.

Self-help is the best help for a successful living. A little change in your attitude with a minor adjustment to the environment, you will find peace of mind and happiness taking the reign of your life.

Published in ezine.com

Think How Hungry Is Hungry

Every grain of food is precious. We should aim at using it sensibly, especially when we know that by 2009-end, we may have 1 billion hungry people.

The story of BIMARU states, have long gone into oblivion. Yet after years since the term was coined, people of the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are still waiting for their dues.

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Think how hungry is hungry