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Chanderi, a town in the Ashoknagar District of Madhya Pradesh is a town of historical importance rich with culture, heritage and legacy. Surrounded by hills, lakes and forests and spotted with several monuments, this town is particularly famous for one thing: The art of Handloom weaving
However, 10 years ago, Tahir Mujabar, a handloom weaver in this town was struggling to make ends meet for his family. Living with his wife Afroza and four children, Tahir was under debt from money lenders and was concerned about the education and marriage of his daughters. It was a very hard time for the family. Tahir didn’t have access to new designs or professional designers and since his patterns were typical, he had to sell them for a very low margin. Since weaving is very slow on handlooms, a typical handwoven Chanderi saree takes anywhere between 5-25 days and he didn’t have enough money to buy more looms as well.
Luckily for Tahir, these days were soon going to be behind him and how! One day, Tahir found a pattern in a magazine he thought he could better with a few alterations and adjustments. After experimenting for a while, he came up with a pattern that seemed perfect for the new market
The saree had a wide zigzag woven border, and an attractive zigzag zari pallu, giving it an elegant and high-society look.
Tahir showed this new pattern to his local wholesaler who in turn pitched to his clients across all metros. The pattern was extremely well received across all luxury showrooms and the high-end customers loved it. The demand slowly kept rising and Tahir soon started making the saree in various colours. Tahir’s entire family got into the business and they bought more looms that were operated by his daughters. They started producing multiple sarees every week
“I have got both of my daughters married without having to take any loan for their wedding. It was their own money. I am very proud of my daughters and my wife. My son does not want to migrate to the city to do labour work. He wants to stay here and help me with this business.”
Since his wife Afroza weaved this pattern more perfectly than him, Tahir named this pattern as the Afroza Pattern after his wife
“Though the sales of this pattern were already high, demand for this pattern reached its peak when "Vidya Balan" wore a similar pattern in an episode of Koffee with Karan in 2013. Since it takes around five days to weave one saree, we had a long list of customers who pre-booked this pattern in black. Demand for white and maroon colours also increased.”
Over the last 10 years, Tahir has sold over 1,000 pieces of the Chanderi saree in various colours, ranging from black, brown, maroon, green, and grey to yellow and more, and all of them are sold as soon as the weaving is completed.
It made us very happy to see that how a small handloom weaver, preserved this beautiful art of handloom weaving with his ‘Karagiri’ and achieved tremendous success. We are positive that this more and more skilled artisans and weavers will be promoted across India and their Karagiri will be brought to the world.
This article is inspired by a blog on Fulpy. For more Chanderi sarees visit : karagiri.com