Centre to help Telangana weavers entwine their dreams

THE HANS INDIA |   Feb 14,2017 , 04:57 AM IST


Chintakindi Mallesham, the rural technocrat who made even the elite engineers of the country feel that necessity is the mother of invention, is slowly getting the fruits of his physical and mental labour after he was recognised with one of the highest civilian awards in the country for his invention of Asu Machine.    

Before weaving various patterns on the loom, a hand winding process of yarn is required in the traditional ‘Tie & Dye’ Pochampalli silk sari tradition. This is a very tedious and cumbersome process and involves two and fro moving of the hand thousands of time in a span of four-five hours.

Mallesham (37), a traditional weaver, has made the device to mechanise this process and relieve women, who generally do this task, from the drudgery involved. Mallesham was born in a traditional weaver’s family in a small village of handloom weavers, Sharjipet.

His parents, Laxminaraan and Laxmi taught him to weaving from his tenth year onwards. By studying during nights and working during the day, he could complete his studies regularly till class seventh. Thereafter he took private tuitions to fulfil his desire of completing class tenth, which he could clear only after three attempts. But in view of weak financial condition of his family, he finally gave up studies in 1986.

Though he did not have much time for other pursuits, he did like opening up dysfunctional radios and transistors and see the arrangement of components inside. But somehow, his efforts have not only brought him international recognition, but also helped him get government support to popularise the machine. The Union government has announced that it will be subsidising the Laxmi Asu machines invented by Padma Shri Award winner Mallesham, so weavers can flourish with their craft without worrying about the costs.

The Asu is an arduous process, which is done on traditional ‘tie & dye’ Pochampalli silk saris, and it generally takes up to six hours on the weavers’ machines to get it done on one sari.  Mallesham, whose mother used to be a weaver in this craft, developed a machine that cuts the process down to just an hour, enabling artisans to monetise their work better.

However, for some weavers, even that initial investment of Rs 25,000 for the machine could be too much. Despite Mallesham’s efforts to subsidise the costs through crowd funding efforts, he still often falls short of the people and the families he wants to help in total.

Mallesham spoke to the media about his own efforts, saying, “I went for the second round of crowd funding as I wanted to help more weavers. My target is to reach 600 more families. After the first round, I raised Rs 4 lakh. I have decided to help 28 weaver families in Bachhanapet mandal in Jangaon district. They will be given the machine at 50 per cent subsidy.” But that was before the government stepped in.

While details are yet to be announced, the scheme from the Central government will fall under the ‘Hathkar Ka Samadhan Sahayata Yojna’ and according to government officials, there will be no cap on the number of weavers who can benefit from and avail this scheme. And now, very soon more families and weavers will be able to afford weaving their dreams.

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