Dubai: Village TV Trust, Mangaluru and St. Loyola College, Bengaluru launched a special support programme ‘Subalterns’ on YouTube on September 10, 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.
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 gave admission to the students of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, Ahinda and all the marginalised communities. We are very happy that NewsKarnataka has come forward and gave a platform to express their woes.
When asked about the daily routine of Ananth K., a cooli weaver by profession and father of Santosh he said, “Our day starts around 6:30 when we go to the factory. Weaving looks easy but it is difficult to work. If we do any minor mistake we won’t get paid any wages.”
Speaking further Ananth said, “the Covid-19 induced lockdown and demonetisation has hardly hit their lives.
“We did not get even a single penny from the Government in the name of compensation,” he expressed.
Santosh expressed the desire to crack Government exams after completing B.Com and said he helps his father in delivering the products to the shops.
While delivering the products, if it gets wet in rain, no shopkeepers will take those. The shopkeepers or mediators purchase products at a cheaper cost and further sell those at double price,” he shared.
Further, Chandrashekar C.K., owner of weaving machines, father of Bhoomika said, “he owns 12 machines and 11 workers work in his factory. Till date, he has not got any benefits from the Government. The lockdown has made our life worst. We don’t even have any facilities provided by the Government to transport our ready products.
“GST is adding salt to the wound. We have to spend approximately Rs. 900 to produce a Saree. But the shopkeepers ask us to sell at Rs. 750. The raw materials are getting costlier. We have to pay the workers. Additionally, we have to pay the GST. We don’t have any other source to earn our bread. We are forced to be debtors,” he shared.
“There is no future in this profession anymore. So I don’t want our children to continue it,” he expressed.
Shobha, wife of Chandrashekhar said, “It was very difficult for us to survive as we have no other source of income. Later, I started a small tailoring shop. Even after that, we don’t earn much.”
Bhoomika shared that she was deprived of all the scholarships as she belongs to Devanga community. If a saree is sold for Rs. 1000, a weaver gets only Rs. 100. Out of that, he has to bear the cost of raw materials, labour, transportation, tax etc.
She further expressed that she wanted to do B.Ed after graduation.
The Father of Bhavya, Krishnamurthy shared his plight that he used to sell coconuts amid lockdown as for more than 6 months they had no work. His wife Vasantha Lakshmi said they work for daily wages. They both go to work early morning at 6:30 and return at 11:30 pm.
Bhavya expressed the desire to become Chartered Accountant and said she will take care of her parents once she finishes her education.
Meanwhile, Dr.Kumaraswamy Bijjihalli shared the information about the plans and schemes for the weavers designed by the handlooms and the textile department. He said 50% subsidy will be provided to the weaver. In all 75% subsidy will be provided by the department for the repair of machines.”
When Chandrashekhar asked about whether he is aware of such schemes by the Government he said, “When we ask for subsidies the officials of the departments have told us those schemes are applicable only for the handloom, not to the power looms. Further, he requested the people to be a little more supportive towards them.
The programme was concluded with the hope that the woes of weavers will reach out to the vast audiences including the Government and so that they may extend support and try to make their lives better.