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Bengal has been a producer of hardy, ecologically viable desi cotton varieties for hundreds of years and is home to the planet’s finest muslin fabric.
In 2013, the traditional art of weaving jamdani was declared a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
But the shrinking demand for this fine muslin and khadi has dwindled stable livelihood for thousands of families in these regions. The rural poor who continue depend on the cotton sector for their livelihoods are facing severe negative ecological, social and economic implications.
Desi Cotton varieties which are natural and organic are not being produced in adequate quantity due to diminishing demand, extremely harsh working conditions, drudgery, poor wages, and a lack of skilled spinners.
The inability of the consumer to differentiate between authentic handloom pieces versus power looms has further hurt the industry.
MG Gramodyog Sewa Sansthan (MGGSS) was established in 2010 to promote a holistic organic tradition including material and food.
Tirelessly working towards economic and social wellbeing from the grassroots up, MGGSS has set out to create a fair revenue-sharing model involving rural spinners and weavers. Awareness and exhibitions across Bengal and rest of India help widen the customer base and revenue streams. Encouraging a natural and organic diet has also had a positive impact on the weavers’ physical and mental health.
20 families in the Burdwan district are among the last bastions of Khadi and Handlooms. While most of the 200 weavers have have abandoned weaving due to lack of demand, MGGSS is working with 40 to them to produce the finest handmade cotton Bengal muslin of a quality up to 500 counts. Research and development is being undertaken to produce 600 counts yarn and utilize desi cotton varieties sourced from partners across India.
A dynamic product mix includes stoles, saree, shawls, kurtas, dhotis, dupatta, tops and wall hangings.
A large scale movement is underway across India to educate people about fabrics, authentic handlooms, cotton farmers, grassroot spinners, dyers and tailors who craft these pieces of artwork. Only an increase in demand can prevent these households from receding completely. If this gentle art dies out, it will be impossible to revive and will leave an irreparable hole in the rich cultural fabric of Bengal.
A dream of a flourishing rural economy can become a reality with the resurgence of India’s handloom sector. MGGSS is committed to maximizing financial benefit for the farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers and tailors through an equitable and transparent revenue-sharing model.
DMZ International is proud to host the finest muslins and khadi from Bengal. Our relentless support can do wonders for these gentle hands and hearts. Soon Muslin sarees will be added to our collections which are handmade by experienced & talented weavers from Bengal.
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