Saturday, June 19, 2010

Iconic sari gets recognition

It is all the rage in Kerala and other places, including Delhi

Balaramapuram village is at the centre of attraction after Kerala’s iconic “Balaramapuram Sari’’ has received Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection through Geographical Indications Act (GI Act).

The village is extremely popular in the state for producing such a wonderful sari. Thousands of weavers make the traditional Kerala Kasavu Sari for women and Kasavu Mundu for men in off-white with golden borders in this six square kilometres textile land — near Thiruvananthapuram. They are designed to be worn specially on propitious occasions. According to industry sources, about 27,000 handlooms operate in the village to produce these saris. The weavers — shaliyar community — use traditional throw-shuttle pit looms, fly shuttle looms and make cotton fabrics with pure zeri (kasav) or coloured yarn.

Hundreds of families, including women, are fully involved in weaving these saris. More than 200 cooperative societies are active in this area. They are fully involved in the production and distribution of the products. The Balaramapuram textiles are sold throughout Kerala through Hantex, and the exclusive shops of zeri textiles like Kasavu Kada and Karal Kada. “We never depend on mechanised systems like dobby, jacquard and jala. The imagination of the weavers and the excellence in silver covering and the gold plating of the silk make Balaramapuram matchless. We have no professional designers and fashion consultants. Our clothes are pure eco-friendly and survive for long,’’ says B.AnilKumar, a weaver at Balaramapuram.

Balarampuram sari is famous for its varieties. One can select saris from the price range of Rs 500 to 40,000. The weavers say that the North Indians, especially Delhiites, are fond of these costly saris. The gold, silver content of the zari is the significant factor which adds the brand value of the Balaramapuram clothes. “The present protection under the IPR confirms its uniqueness,’’ says Anilkumar, a trader.

But most of the weavers are apprehensive about the special protection. Besides, they fear that the traditional art may die as youngsters are not joining the profession. Of late their biggest worry has been the arrival of mechanically produced Kasavu sari that is available in the market for only Rs 100. Since then, the Balaramapuram sari has been facing a stiff competition.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2009

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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