The Indian handloom and cottage industries have emerged stronger after every unwarranted crisis for years. The past has always sown seeds of hope. The Banarasi saree’s recent geographical indications (GI) status is an achievement worth mentioning.
With this the story of duplication comes under scrutiny as “the GI rights are the intellectual property rights that restrict others from marketing or processing a product in the same name.”
September saw the Banarasi silk product register as the ‘Banaras Brocades and Sarees’ under Geographical Indications (GI) Act.
According to experts “the GI status would benefit about 12 lakh people associated directly or indirectly with the handloom silk industry of the region because it would restrict the misuse of Banarasi saree brand. As per the GI certificate issued by the registrar of GI, the Banaras Brocades and Sarees fall in four classes (13-26) that include silk brocades, textile goods, silk saree, dress material and silk embroidery. The registration is for 10 years and it may be further renewed.”
It is easy to find skilled labour, but maintaining the tradition needs attention and care. Though at the policy level there is a need for protection from cheap silk and powerloom houses, the challenge to reintroduce Banarasi sarees as a brand is not anymore a dream in waiting. The sweat, blood and about eight years struggle of many weavers to restore the lost glory and grandeur of the Banarasi sarees is set to begin a new innings.