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Women of Substance from Chanderi!

Women from a town in Madhya Pradesh are determined to carve their own space in handloom market.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2005 20:08 IST

They had never stepped outside their homes, let alone towns until a couple of years back. Today they travel to cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lahore and Kathmandu on "business trips". All these years they banked upon their fathers and later husbands for every single penny. Today they not are just earning on their own, but making profits, managing the production and marketing unit of their self-help group.

It's one of the rare success stories of "empowerment" of women. Armed with their expertise weaving these women from a town called Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh are all determined to carve their own space in today's increasingly expansive global market through their handlooms.

"We know our products are good. Now we want to make them the best in the world, so that we can stand against the western competiton. Our products have to be of the best quality. Earlier, it was just a question of survival, but today we not just want to survive but prosper and progress too," says Afroze Jahan, one of the weavers.

For centuries Chanderi, situated in the Ashok Nagar district of India's largest state has been the hotbed for weaving. Chanderi textiles were patronised initially by the Mughals and later by the Scindias. In this town of 30,000 people, about one third of the population is from the weaving community, which includes both Hindus and Muslims.

First Published: Dec 06, 2005 13:30 IST