Murshidabad has had a long association with the silk industry particularly during the times of the English East India company, which saw the emergence of two English factories to spruce up the production of silk as there was a growing demand in England owing to the cheaper prices and superior quality, particularly during a time when the Italians started charging additional cess.
People and Development around Murshidabad Silk
The present situation of the expert craftsmen and weavers engaged in the production of Murshidabad silk is dwindling due to low profitability. Because of this, a lot of the weavers have stopped their craft and have moved on to diverse professions and livelihood. The younger generation is not inclined towards continuing the art of silk making.
All this has raised the concern of the Government – both the center and the state. A lot of khadi societies are providing aid to help produce silk and help the weavers make the saris that are popular throughout the country and abroad. Sadly, a lot of the areas known for weaving now have abandoned looms.
A village by the name of Dangapara which was famed to have 400 handlooms has drastically abandoned the craft as the handlooms have dwindled to a mere 70 in number. Weaving silk sarees would take four days with a daily income of Rs. 100 whereas construction would bring more than twice the income home; therefore, artisans have chosen to switch over to different professions.
Furthermore, a lot of surveys show that Murshidabad silk is selling less than south Indian silk, as the latter has chosen to adopt modern contemporary designs, weaving’s and embroideries and a similar makeover in the Murshidabad silk is still yet to happen.
The classic Murshidabad silk desperately needs a revival in terms of the industry and the product, so as to preserve this rich textile heritage of India that has been there for centuries altogether.