The Brave Women Preserving India's Tribal Weaving Legacy (Video)
In the face of cheaper alternatives flooding the market, women from the Rajbanshi ethnic group in West Bengal, India have been fighting to keep an ancient weaving tradition alive. Jute, one of India's most important crops, is used by these women to create floor and prayer mats . Sanjita Sarkar learned the craft when she was 12 and now uses a traditional loom made of bamboo and wood inherited from her mother-in-law to create intricate designs that take days to complete. Weaving has been a task reserved for women in the Rajbanshi tribe, who mainly make a living from farming.
While many women split their time between farming, household chores, and weaving, women like Sanjita are dedicated to preserving the craft and improving their skills. She sells her mats for around $5 and uses the proceeds to pay for her children's education. But with the handloom industry losing millions of artisans over the years, the future of this tradition remains uncertain. Despite the challenges, the Rajbanshi women remain steadfast in their efforts to keep the craft still standing.
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Top image: Hand weaving jute crafts in India. Source: mitrarudra / Adobe Stock.