In medias res



I had the opportunity of visiting the Cooptex showroom in Tanjavur, at the invitation of Venkatesh Narasimhan its Managing Director. Cooptex a state run cooperative for handlooms in Tamil Nadu is the only entity that is profitable in the country. Over 110000 weavers sell through Cooptex showrooms. One of their initiatives inspired me so much. Every saree that is sold has a tag which has the photo and details of the weaver. Kathirvelan from Kanchipuram, mentioned in the tag, had given up weaving completely few years back and had taken to recycling old newspapers. The making of this Kanchi cotton saree has been overtaken by powerlooms in Coimbatore, making weavers like Kathirvelan live a life of poverty. Venkatesh tells me that there are tens of villages in Tamil Nadu where traditional weavers have completely vanished. Today with the support of Cooptex weavers like Kathirvelan have gotten back to weaving. These sarees are also sold on Flipkart and Snapdeal. If we all buy for even Rs. 500 every quarter from Cooptex we will make these weavers live a life of dignity.


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