Dubai: Village TV Trust, Mangaluru and St. Loyola College, Bengaluru held a special support programme ‘Subalterns’ on YouTube on September 17 at 6.30 pm., which is powered by newskarnataka.com.
With the objective of ‘P2P – Local to Global’, the show is aimed at providing a platform for unheard young voices of the society and thus create a supportive environment.
The programme was hosted by SpearHead Media Group Mentor and Advisor CA Valerian Dalmaida, and the co-host is Floyd Kiran. The weekly programme is conducted in the Kannada language.
In the beginning Programme host CA Valerian Dalmaida explaining the motto of starting ‘Subaltern’ said, “the new series has been started with an intention to provide a voice to the voiceless people, who belong to the marginalised communities of the society. As a part of the decennial celebrations of NewsKarnataka, we have undertaken this initiative.”
Speaking further Co-host Floyd Kiran welcomed all the participants of the talk show series.
Nandini S., daughter of Somashekhar and Nagaratna, Tanuja P., daughter of Susheela and Roopa R. P., daughter of Paramesh Nayaka and Sowmya were part of this event. All the students’ wards who are weavers by profession participated in the event.
When asked about the daily routine of Somashekhar weaver by profession and father of Nandini he said, “Our day starts around 7.00 am when we go to the factory. We will return around 9:30 pm. My wife Nagaratna also helps me in weaving. Weaving looks easy but it is difficult to work. If we do any minor mistake we won’t get paid any wages. ”
Nandini said she also joins her parents after finishing her studies and help them in household works.
Paramesh Nayaka, a weaver ad parent of Roopa said, “We will buy the materials from the middlemen so we have to sell the final products to them. They will pay us nearly 350 rupees for a saree. In a single day, we can weave a maximum of one and half saree.”
“I have a single power loom machine, which I took for rent. I pay Rs. 2500 every month to the owner. The Saree which we produce will be sold at Rs. 3000 in the market where we get only Rs. 1200 for them. After deducting all the expenditure we get approximately Rs. 300 to 350 only, he said.
Susheela, owner of weaving machines and mother of Tanuja said, “I own two machines. I lost my husband due to Covid – 19. Now, it’s difficult for me to handle both machines. Amid Covid – 19 induced lockdown we were forced to shut the factory. We did not have any work for many months. We have no other source of income, so we borrowed loans from people to survive. Even after the unlock our conditions are no better. ”
“After the opening of lockdown, we are not able to pay enough wages to the labourers. Corona has added salt on our wounds,” she said.
Speaking further Somashekar said, ” We don’t get any financial help or benefits from Government. The Government is concerned about farmers, not us. The children of farmers get many benefits and scholarships to complete their education, but we don’t get any such facilities. Our condition is no better than them and infact tough as all the profits will go to the middlemen,” he expressed.
Parameshwar said, “We don’t have any association. The weavers are not united. We must raise our voice in union to fight for our rights.”
Susheela shared that they have to buy the raw materials from the middle man, so they are forced to sell their products to them at a lower price. No Government banks come forward to give them financial assistance. When they asked for loans for working capital the bank employees deny to give any loans without surety.
Host CA Valerian Dalmaida informed them that no surety is required for the loans to buy working capital, as working capital is itself surety. He advised them to enquire in the bank for such loans and get the benefits.
Dr.Kumaraswamy Bijjihalli, head of the Kannada Department in Loyola College, Bengaluru said that subalterns is a wonderful programme. Weavers’ Colony is situated near Bannerghatta and Loyola College has many students who belong to these families. Our college give admissions to the students of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, Ahinda and all the marginalised communities. We are very happy that NewsKarnataka has come forward and given a platform to express their woes.
He stressed that the handlooms and the textile department should come forward to provide working capital for the weavers at fixed rates. So the weavers can come out of the traps of middlemen and get their due payment. This will make them sell their products freely at a better price.
In the end, all the students Nandini, Tanuja and Roopa expressed their desire to pursue Masters in Business Administration (MBA) after graduation. They thanked NewsKarnataka for the informative initiatives and told that they will organise themselves and take a stand for their rights.