“I have been into handloom weaving for the last 40 years now. I practised this art at the early age of 14 by weaving shawls. As I mastered the technique, I started to weave different products like traditional pochampally ikkat sarees, bedsheets, dhotis, handkerchiefs and many more.
The weaving process of the traditional ikkat patterns is said to be brought to the town of Pochampally from Chirala, where the art was locally referred to as chut-ki. The technique has been widely applauded because of the fabric’s unique identity, as compared to other ikkat producing units and ever since more than 20,000 weaving families are dependent on this industry across Bhoodan Pochampally, Janagaon and Aleru towns.
What we do is skilled artwork but the income we earn is meagre. There has been a gradual improvement over the years in our livelihood after 2014, however, the ongoing Covid pandemic has sabotaged our livelihoods completely. It’s like we are going back 30 years back.
I work here for 10-12 hours a day to earn Rs. 9,500 per month. On average, it takes us about 4-7 days to make one saree and I weave around 5-6 sarees a month. Our generation is perhaps the last in this field. My children chose to work in private companies even though they know the basics. In a way, I feel sad that this profession ends with me in my family but also glad that my children chose to explore other fields. They are passionate about starting their businesses in the future and I just hope that they succeed in whatever they do.”