The last strand; Chendamangalam Handloom Weavers

Chendamangalam, known for the art of handloom, bore the brunt of the deluge that left the state bogged in 2018.
Ratnan K P (Kuttan), who has been working in the handloom sector for nearly five decades,  hanging bleached yarn for drying in the sun. (Photo | T P Sooraj)
Ratnan K P (Kuttan), who has been working in the handloom sector for nearly five decades, hanging bleached yarn for drying in the sun. (Photo | T P Sooraj)

KOCHI: In the annals of Kerala’s history, August 2018 stands as a sombre reminder of the devastating power of nature. Chendamangalam, known for the art of handloom, bore the brunt of the deluge that left the state bogged.

Homes were inundated, roads subsided, and that sinking feeling shrouded a cherished legacy the looms.
“We had lost everything,” recalls M K Venu, the president of Chendamangalam Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Society.  

“Initially, things looked bleak. But, thanks to those who rallied behind us the government, private companies, and common people we managed to rise from the ruins. We repaired the damaged looms, and got some new ones. Gradually, we got back to business.”

Now, five years later, a fresh quandary shadows the once-thriving handloom tradition. “There is a dearth of skilled weavers and artisans,” says Venu. “Most homes here have a loom and charkha. Years ago there used to be at least four or five looms in a house.”

Currently, there are about 75 weavers under the cooperative society. “All are aged above 40. No one from the younger generation wants to pick up the craft. Who can blame them? The toil is ceaseless and the earnings meagre,” rues Venu.

“The Onam season is coming up. This is supposed to be the best business period for us. However, like last year, we are not sure about meeting the market demand.” Venu earnestly invites city residents to Chendamangalam to buy mundu, sari, and other garments from the weavers themselves. “There is a 50% rebate,” he beams. The rhythmic clatter of the manual looms continues to ring through the heart of Chendamangalam.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com