The year 2017 can easily be earmarked as a year of change that augurs well for the handloom weavers of Telangana, more so the ethnic practitioners of the craft at Rajanna-Sircilla, Telangana. There were several important observations and announcements by the powers that be that it sounded like music to the ears of the handloom community of that region.
A revolutionary example that has encouraged others
Heartening is the sight of a young District Collector Devarakonda Krishna Bhaskar, IAS, of Rajanna-Sircilla, setting a trend by donning a traditional white colored Panche and Laalchi every Monday when attending to his official duties. While this has may have come routinely as a govt. circular for him, he has also set a good example for those working in the collectorate to voluntarily follow suit. So every Monday without fail you can see the office literally sporting formal clothes in white handloom. So spurred by the wonderful initiative started by him, it has heartened government officials from other districts also to express their willingness to adopt this custom.
What is striking about this young unassuming district collector is that he believes in action rather than mere words. Maintaining a low-profile unlike many others he believes in face-to-face interaction with the common public, in order to get a better understanding of their lives and the problems they face. He has already gained a good reputation for the hard work and sincere efforts that he puts in to better the lives of the people of the region by successfully implementing various programmes in the newly formed Rajanna-Sircilla District, that has earned him favourable reviews from the Telangana govt. as well.
What was the thought behind this thoughtful gesture?
According to sources, about 180 handloom units exist in Sircilla and its surrounding mandals. Most of the units are run by persons aged above 50 years and banks are hesitant to sanction loans. Weavers are seeking bank loans to be able to run the industry, besides trying to get a decent life to practice their traditional craft which though applauded has not been sufficiently rewarded through policies and facilities.
Taking the call given by the Information Technology and Municipal Administration Minister K T Rama Rao that government employees should wear cotton clothes once for a week to protect weaving community, the minute the Collector assumed office he set the stride for implementing a good suggestion and more so when his own region Sircilla was one of the major centres for weaving industry in the State.
In his interaction with the weavers informally while many a handloom weaver expressed happiness and a sense of gratitude over this decision of government employees there were some who also voiced their concerns, saying that the current generation seeking better opportunities is prone more towards the power loom and textiles industries. So it becomes the moral responsibility of the government to see that the handloom industry gets benefits through good protective policies that would boost cloth weaving.
A messiah for the people who look up to him, his way of being in the field a fair amount of time has given many who have interacted with him a pleasant shock. For the just gone by Shivaratri festival in Vemulawada Rajarajeshwara Swamy temple, he had moved on bicycle to every corner of the town, made his observations and got all the necessary arrangements done. The first Jatara after the formation of the district, to see that nothing went amiss he camped personally to see that everything was done according to plan. Needless to say it was acknowledged a huge success.
An effort backed by govt. policies
The Chief Minister himself after having gained a fair idea about the situation from reports and briefings of the ministry, more so the IT & Textiles Minister himself, had made certain important observations regarding the handloom weavers of Telangana, more so the affected regions of Siricilla & Pochampally.
Handloom Weavers Training Centre at Rajanna-Siricilla District imparts training to the members of the Weavers Co-operative Societies to work on improved looms with better designs and to upgrade their skills.
The power loom sector also exists in Sircilla but the handloom sector would co-exist side-by-side was an assurance given.
In May 2017, minister for handlooms, industries and information technology, K Taraka Rama Rao had suggested the setting up a separate corporation for wide marketing and increase in sales of handloom items. He said apart from financial help from the govt. the handloom weavers would be supported by the authorities and it was their duty to increase demand for their items. He appealed to government officials, party leaders and students of all state-run educational institutions to wear handloom clothes at least once in a week.
When a man is committed to the welfare of his fellow human beings, even the Gods smile down upon him benevolently. As part of a trusted group of the young brigade heralded by IT Minister KT Rama Rao, he has been entrusted with responsibility and has delivered many a time since he has become Collector to justify the faith reposed in him.
A god-send for the weavers of Rajanna-Sircilla, it shall be no surprise if encouraged by his efforts and their renewed enthusiasm, the region gets to once again be on the path of its trail of traditional glory that it once enjoyed.