Zari Silk Saree, (Chanderi Saree) Lalitpur

‘Zari Silk Saree’(Chanderi Saree) made in the district of Lalitpur, is an age-old traditional handcrafted product and its production can be traced back to 1400-1500 AD.This traditional handicraft was fading gradually, but has now been given patronage under the ‘One district one product’ scheme by the Uttar Pradesh government for revival and upliftment of the craft and the artisans.

Under the integral scheme ‘One district one product’, ‘Zari Silk’ has been selected for district Lalitpur. It is a very unique and exceptional product. The brocade silk saree, made as part of this production is completely handcrafted without the use of any electrical machinery. The people behind this craft are traditional artisans who have been doing this work for past many years. This handicraft work is undertaken in various urban and rural areas of the district and involves around 250-275 craftsmen. Most of these crafts men fall in the underprivileged section of this undeveloped district. After weaving the saree and providing it to the traders for selling, craftsmen receive only a bare minimum wage, whereas it takes them a span of 6 to 20 days to handicraft one single product. Since they use the traditional loom for weaving, it requires more time for weaving a product but in turn, generates much less wages.

Before the introduction of ODOP, these craftsmen did not get any kind of promotion and no significant effort was made for preservation of their interests. Since last 50 years, there was no large unit in the district where they could display their sarees. Despite its location on National Highway number 44, no resident or traveler got a chance to see the sarees because there were hardly one or two sarees available with the craftsmen.

After this product was selected for the district, special efforts were made by the Uttar Pradesh government to benefit the craft under this scheme. First and foremost, a fixed amount bank loan was made available for the craftsmen to purchase new handlooms and related toolkits. Along with this, two commercial units were established in the district. For the first time, by way of loan availed under ODOP scheme, Tanya Textile was established, so that the craftsmen get easy availability of raw materials, as well as customers have access to the unique production material at the site itself. It also provided employment to 30-40 craftsmen and to those who did not have resources to work from home. In the second instance, Niharika Sari Lalitpur was promoted as a commercial unit and employment for 15-20 people was generated.

As a consequence of the above mentioned efforts, a wave of hope and opportunity has been generated with regards to this traditional art and it has led to significant increase in the number of active craftsmen.

Under the ODOP scheme, a toolkit training scheme has been introduced in which low wage craftsmen are selected at district level and Jakart toolkit is made available to them. The use of this toolkit reduced the manufacture time of graphical handloom designs by 40 percent time and increased income up to 40 percent.

The introduction of these toolkits has been instrumental in increasing the standard of living of these craftsmen and their families. This toolkit was made available at every handloom present in the district. It has been specifically beneficial to women whose fingers bleed as a result of using the thread for weaving. The toolkits have helped in improving the working conditions of the craftsmen, increasing participation of women and making excellent quality products. The saree made from this handicraft is a unique type of saree, with some resemblance to Kanchipuram silk saree. It is more favored because of the transparent quality of its fabric, which has generated a market demand for the saree.

The handlooms installed in these units are environment friendly tools that do not cause any kind of pollution and do not require any sort of chemical or electric power.

The promotion and development of ‘Zari Silk Saree’(Chanderi Saree), is a crucial  factor for employment generation at the village grass root level, and hence, units are targeted to be established in every gram panchayat of the district. As a consequence, this traditional art will be revived and employment opportunities will be generated in this under developed district.

At present, more than 200 jobs have been created in the district by providing loans worth 139.00 lakhs through banks and continuous efforts are being made for the product under this scheme. As a result of the above mentioned action plan and execution of the same, there has been an expected increase in the number of crafts men working in the district and now almost 400 people are engaged in this occupation with steadily increasing incomes.