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Kerala floods could Spell doom for Chendamangulam handloom Tradition!

Oct 24, 2018

Kerala floods could Spell doom for Chendamangulam handloom Tradition!
Kerala floods could Spell doom for Chendamangulam handloom Tradition! | Credit: The Hindu

The recent floods that resulted out of lashing rains in Kerala have wrecked havoc in many parts of the state. The flood has been termed as the worst to hit the state in a century. All the major dams saw overflowing water levels and over 300 people were reported to have died due to the floods. The flood direly affected infrastructure, agricultural lands, factories, homes and everything on the land. The loss of life, the loss of homes, the loss of livelihood, etc have left the people of the state devastated.

As the state grapples with the challenges of rebuilding what is lost and managing the humungous damage caused by the floods, the road ahead is definitely filled with very difficult tasks. Among the many areas that need immediate attention, one of the areas that are easily overlooked is the handloom sector in Kerala. 

Kerala’s handloom sector is known for its beautiful weaves and employs over 13 million people directly and indirectly. Among the various types of handlooms, the Chendamangalam region handloom industry is one of the most popular ones that are known for its quality weaves.

kerala handloom industry 2018
kerala handloom industry 2018

Let us see how this sector has been affected by the floods.

The current situation

The regions where Chendamangalam weavers are concentrated and their handloom units are built have been badly hit by the flood. The region is situated in North Paravur that is 36 km from Kochi. While the flood waters have receded now, the damage left behind paints a grim picture. The weaving community had been preparing for the Onam festival season when the floods hit and hence a lot of material got destroyed by the water.

Currently, around 600 weavers belonging to five societies have lost finished clothes, fabric, weaving material, handloom instruments, dye, etc. The Paravur Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society has said that the damage amounted to approximately 15 crores.  

chendamangalam handloom industry
chendamangalam handloom industry

History of Chendamangalam Handloom industry

Chendamangalam is a village that houses a cluster of handloom weavers who produce unique weaves. This type of handloom has a long history of many centuries and originally produced clothes for the feudal Paliam family. Later, these weaves were produced for the common people as well. Today, it has a Geographical Index tag and is sought after by many handloom lovers across the globe.

In dire need of help

Even though the estimated amount of loss of 15 crores might not seem like a huge amount in front of the rest of the damage that Kerala has seen, it is important to note that this amount can make the difference between the survival of this age-old traditional weaving practice and its doom. The handloom industry has already been facing many problems due to the advent of cheaper, power-loom produced clothes and this may be the final blow to the Chendamangalam handloom industry if its revival is ignored.

Chendamangalam weaves are one of India's pride and we need to find out ways to help the weavers recover from this loss and ensure the continuity of this tradition. This is the need of the hour and it should not be forgotten amidst all the other areas of the state that needs help.