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Pedana Kalamkari artisans in deep crisis

Pedana Kalamkari artisans in deep crisis
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Highlights

The world famous Pedana Kalamkari, the art of fabric printing which has won the hearts of people for generations for its unique patterns and colour combinations on cotton fabrics, is now facing a threat of extinction as young people are not coming forward to learn the art due to lack of encouragement from the State government.

  • Artisans complain of manpower shortage, lack of govt support
  • Common facility centre turns a distant dream

Vijayawada: The world famous Pedana Kalamkari, the art of fabric printing which has won the hearts of people for generations for its unique patterns and colour combinations on cotton fabrics, is now facing a threat of extinction as young people are not coming forward to learn the art due to lack of encouragement from the State government.


The artisans criticised that the government failed to set up a common facility centre in Machilipatnam for the past several years and failed to release funds. The ruling party leaders, who repeatedly stress the need for women empowerment, have failed to protect the ancient art work, which provides employment opportunities to thousands of rural women. They said the handloom sector in the region started disappearing due to lack of support from the government.

Two artisans engage in kalamkari printing activity. (right) A kalamkari design

The Kalamkari printing also is facing crisis with lack of manpower to continue the traditional fabric printing. The Kalamkari printing has great demand in several cities in the country and in US, Germany and Netherland as natural colours are being used for the fabric printing. Artisans use herbals, leaves, turmeric and Myrobalan for preparing natural colours. After first printing made with blocks, the fabric will be soaked in water for a day and then the second printing will be made.


The artisans are facing problem to keep the Kalamkari cloth in water due to shortage of water during summer season. In times of water shortage, the artisans used to take the cloth bundles to a canal in Srikakulam of Krishna district. Pointing out the State government’s promise to set up a common facility centre at Pedana for the benefit of Kalamkari artisans, Kalamkari Artisans Welfare Association president Sajja Nageswara Rao said the government failed to materialise its promise till date.


The Commissioner of Industries also failed to release funds so far.He said that the Kalamkari printing work facing crisis with shortage of manpower. ‘The association is ready to train youth in the ancient art printing work, if the government comes forward to extend financial support. Kalamkari art provides employment opportunities to both rural youth and women,’ he added.


Another Kalamkari artisan Arjuna Rao said the government should set up a unit in Pedana to produce cora cloth, which is being used in Kalamkari art. He said at present the traders have been importing the cloth from Tripura in Tamil Nadu. If the cloth was produced here, it would provide employment opportunities for rural women, he added.


Arjuna Rao said that the government should supply natural colours that were used in Kalamkari printing at subsidised price. A trader, S Koteswara Rao said that the Kalamkari printing has a vast domestic market. He said the government should come forward to end the present crisis in Kalamkari art by offering subsidies. If the government extends support to Kalamkari printing, it would help to boost up rural economy as thousands of families depend on Kalamkari printing work in the region.


By:PV Krishna Rao

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