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Anakaputhur is a town in Kancheepuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, it is

15minute drive from Chennai airport.the roads are narrow and congested, like any other
suburb. Anakaputhur was once famous for its traditional weaving business, which has
declined due to modern competition, this place seems to bursting it seams, unable to cope
up with rapid urbanisation.
Anakaputhur With its lost name, is now gaining fame for a small eco-friendly initiative. For
the last 15 years, C Shekar, a weaver, has been quietly making fabrics out of vazhai naaru
(banana fibre),’ inspired by the traditional weavers of Philippines.
With a population of about 25,000, Anakaputhur has only 750 handloom weavers today.
Its decreasing in recognition and that is why this part of the city needs attention.

The livelihood of almost the entire village had once depended on weaving, rolling out bales
for the famous ‘Real Madras handkerchiefs’ used by Nigerian women. Some 100 years ago,
during the colonial days, these cotton ‘handkerchiefs,’ in indigo blue, maroon, beige, offwhite and black, and actually measuring six yards in length and 36 inches in breadth,
draped these dusky women and even served as their headscarves.
Lagos, the Nigerian city, even opened up an overseas office at old Washermanpet in north
Chennai, closer to the Port, for shipping the handkerchiefs’ back home.
But business slackened from the late 1960s following military rule in Nigeria and
Anakaputhur’s Mudaliars and Devanga Chettiars, the two traditional weaver communities,
began to look beyond their centuries-old profession for a livelihood.
The 500-odd families today left with their pit looms and small business are struggling to
keep the tradition alive.
Shekar is among them. But about 15 years ago, just when the world was warming to the
idea of bio-friendly products, Shekar did a bit of ‘research’ and discovered that weavers in
Philippines were making shirts and dresses out of banana fibres. With increasing demand for
clothes made of natural fibres, Shekar, president of the village’s Jute Weavers’ Association,
began to explore the possibilities.
“There is a lot of potential. But we need the technology for weaving lengthier fabrics,” said
Shekar, pointing out that the looms to weave cotton fabrics were not exactly suitable for
banana fibres.
The weaver approached government and private organisations to expand his ‘banana’
initiative and get them to fund a field trip to Philippines. “If the Indian government
intervenes, the Philippines government might be willing to train a few of us in the art of
making long fabrics out of banana fibres. We would even learn to weave sarees, wholly
made of banana fibres on suitable warps,” he said. And,

“We need the help of the government for this. we will just become a part of a museum exhibit or literature. a saree. from boutiques and private buyers. . Today. Padma.” With the methods available. we can do it in a day and it would cost half the price. Eventually.” he said. “But if we had the technology for making longer strands of banana fibres.” he warns. Skehkar’s attempt to popularise the banana fabrics is a lonely struggle. He even picks up discarded stems from outside marriage halls. Market for Anakaputhur weaver’s products huge demand is prevailing in national level markets like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh outside Tamilnadu and Globally also the products are popular in places like Europe and USA to which its getting exported in large quantities. Shekar has managed to weave 50 sarees using both cotton and banana fibres. Kovur and the Koyambedu wholesale market. the weaving tradition will just fade out.000. The state government and the Apparel Export Promotion Council are yet to take him seriously.which use them to decorate the entrance. nationally and internationally. finally broken down into water and carbon dioxide by microorganisms in the soil. If the government doesn’t encourage our new initiative with banana fibres that has immense market abroad. Shekhar does his banana stem shopping at nearby Kunrathur. “The jute and cotton orders are not enough to keep all of us going. 10. But despite the tediousness. It would take Shekar and his wife. the orders are small. which is purely a ‘banana fibre’ creation would cost a buyer Rs. at least a month to make just one five-and-a-half metre saree using this process. as these hold a special place in the exhibitions held throughout all this places locally.the best thing about these fabrics is that they are biodegradable. While recent bulk orders for making jute products and fabrics have triggered some activity in Anakaputhur. http://expressindia. http://handloomnation.tamilspider.blogspot.indianexpress.thehindu.aspx .