LUCKNOW: Ramzan Ali’s rags-to-riches story is woven with the threads of dedication, diligence and passion. Ramzan Bhai, as he is popularly known, never imagined that his romance with the thread and intricate motifs emblazoned on silken beauties would catapult him into a master weaver from a small-time loom labourer who once used to earn paltry `15 a day. Today, Ramzan Sarees is a brand wholesaling and retailing exquisite Banarasis, operating free from the shackles of gaddidars (middlemen) and locking an annual turnover of `50 lakh.
The sound of handlooms from practically every home in Phulwaria, Varanasi, is music to his ear. At the age of 10, he dropped out to work as a weaver. “Weaving was in my blood. My grandfather and my father were weavers. I handed the legacy to my son,” says Ramzan, 55. The zeal to have a brand of his own by breaking the vicious circle of middlemen put Ramzan Bhai among the bestknown master weavers of Varanasi. “Despite toiling for the whole day, I used to get a meagre wage as the money is shared at various levels in this business and middlemen keep a huge cut,” says Ramzan.
The injustice and penury cemented his determination to have a loom of his own. “Since I had to dump the ‘gaddidar’ out, I took a loan from the bank to consolidate and started selling my products directly to the customers not only in Varanasi but also in Mumbai and Delhi where Banarasi is always in high demand,” claims the weaver.
Ramzan’s products got recognition by silk and handloom authorities on his art pieces. This opened doors of government exhibitions which led to the promotion of his brand. Today, Ramzan sells his products through various online platforms and also WhatsApp.