News Karnataka
Wednesday, November 30 2022

This young woman models for the cause of distressed Ilkal saree weavers

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Bagalkot: At a time when traditional handloom weavers of the Bagalkot district are struggling to stay in vogue, a young woman has lent them a helping hand in a different manner to help popularize the traditional Ilkal saree.

Trupti Salimath, a resident of Ilkal town has adopted a unique way to help the Ilkar saree weavers and merchants. Getting herself involved in modelling, she gets photoshoots done in different Ilkal sarees to make each piece look vibrant and different.

Aspiring to be a civil servant, Trupti has been helping the distressed handloom weavers’ community market the famous Ilkal sarees through various social networking platforms.

A business administration graduate, she decided to help the weavers after seeing their plight. She lives in an area where there is a large number of handloom weavers, who are struggling to meet their daily expenses as the market shut down owing to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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A post shared by Trupti D Salimath (@trupti_salimath)

Though markets were allowed to open since June 1, the shopkeepers are still grappling to sell the famous fabric. This is affecting the weavers of the sarees and their income is reduced by 80 per cent, as the prices of raw materials have shot up and the demand for the fabric has remained low.

In order to increase the sale of the famous Ilkal saree – Trupti has temporarily turned to modelling. In her free time, she dons Ilkal sarees and goes for photoshoots.

After editing, at least two photographs of the same piece are posted to social media, along with the contact details of the sellers and weavers. Trupti has now become popular in the town and among the weaver community after her photos went viral.

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A post shared by Trupti D Salimath (@trupti_salimath)

Trupti says that, since she belongs to Ilkal, she has always wanted to do something for the town.

“We all know that Ilkal is famous for its locally made sarees. The fabric producers, i.e. the handloom weavers, are going through a tough phase in their life because they have not been getting orders since the coronavirus outbreak. Because of the financial difficulties faced by many of the weavers, they are shutting down their units and are working odd jobs for survival.”

She said that after seeing their hardship, she decided to try and promote the fabric through social network platforms. Her posts on Instagram and other social media platforms are a big hit and have received an overwhelming response.

“Thereafter, we started getting orders to such an extent that even people in foreign countries placed orders. Since then, we have been getting a good number of orders. Subsequently, the weavers have also returned to work,” she said.

Trupti says that, though she doesn’t hail from the weavers’ community, her parents supported her and helped her financially for this cause.

“Ashwini Subbanna, a resident of California in the USA, also helped us promote the fabric in foreign countries. I want to become an IPS officer and during my free time, I will indulge in social works,” the 26-year-old said.

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A post shared by Trupti D Salimath (@trupti_salimath)

Thanking Trupti for her efforts, Deepak Sarode (31), a weaver and owner of SN Ilkal Sarees said, “We were struggling to market the Ilkal sarees. Though the markets are opened here, it is yet to open in Solapur, Sangli and Kolhapur. We get the maximum orders from the districts in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra. Since the lockdown, the weavers and shopkeepers have been struggling to market the existing stock. Since Trupti has started encouraging the weavers through social media platforms, we are getting decent orders. We have even started exporting the Ilkal sarees to foreign countries. We thank Trupti for stepping in to help us for free.”

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Firoz Rozindar

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