Sericulture has been in the news lately, with silk cocoon farmers in Karnataka and quite possibly all over the country hit hard by the sudden reduction in the market price of raw silk from Rs350/kg to Rs 150/kg, due to the reduction in the import duty on raw silk.
Karnataka is where much of the silk in india is produced, other than in the silk 'hot spots' of Varanasi and Kanchipuram.
Previously the import duty was 30 percent on raw silk and 10 percent on manufactured silk, which encouraged the import of manufactured silk from China. In an attempt to encourage the manufacturing of silk in India and make raw silk more easily available, the government reduced the import duty on raw silk to 5 percent. Now why the Government did not instead encourage silk farmers in the country and perhaps increase the import duty on manufactured silk is something worth investigating.
Silk weaving in India is perhaps best associated with Varanasi, whose brocade silk with golden threads (jari) has been in fashion since the Mughal times. (evidence of sericulture has surfaced even in the excavations of the Indus Valley civilization).
While in Pondicherry we ran into an exhibition of Varanasi silk at the Alliance Francais.
The sarees were gorgeous!
A picture of old Varanasi hung from the walls.
There were silk cushion covers and buttons.
Many exquisite silk dresses that i immediately fell in love with!
And beautiful paitings.
It was a nice prelude to dinner, which was right across the road at the Le Club. On reflection though, I could not help thinking that beautiful and artistic though natural silk undoubtedly was, it certainly did not warrant the killing of mulberry silkworms. As Casey in the Wandering Owl says, we need to spend more time adoring our world than using it up at breakneck speed!