A Woman Weaver Of Cuttack Creates Ripples With Maniabandh Saree Designs

Cuttack: At a time when ethnic wear is making a comeback to apparel industry, a young woman in the silver city has made a mark with her creativity by producing hand-made Maniabandh dresses.

Juna Das had started weaving Maniabandh sarees as an earning source to replenish the income of her husband. Now it has become an inspiration of creativity for ethnic lovers.

Staying on the premises of Annapurnna theatre at Buxi Bazar, 29-year-old Jhuna herself weaves sarees and dress materials with a borrowed loom.

She comes from an humble background. Her husband works in a grocery shop and father-in-law runs a tea shop. She has a family of six members including in-laws and two daughters.

“I belong to a weaver’s family in Maniabandh village under Badamba block in Cuttack district. I learned weaving from my father and brother when I was 12-years-old. After marriage, I left that work. But, I started weaving again three years back to meet the family needs,” said Jhuna.

“When I planned to start weaving, one of my neighbours in Maniabandh village gave me a loom and threads. I am weaving in that loom now,” said Jhuna.

Her experience in weaving in her parents’ house helped her resume the work. “After completing my household chores, I give four to five hours daily to weaving. I need 10 to 12 hours to weave one saree or dress,” she said.

She weaves sarees, dress materials, ‘lungi’ and towel in Maniabandh design and supply those to Maniabandh. With the rise in demand for her products, Jhuna looks forward to a bright future for her family and herself. “I am happy that people are liking my sarees,” said Jhuna with humility.

But the financial gain is not as rewarding as she virtually gets pittance for all her labour and creativity. “Though a Maniabandh saree costs from Rs 2,000 to Rs 25,000 in the market, I get Rs 400 as wage to weave one saree and to Rs 500 for weaving a dress material,” she said.

With the limited income of her family, she can hardly afford a loom on her own. “Setting up a loom and necessary threads will cost about Rs 80,000. If I can get a loan from any source, it will be of great help,” said Jhuna.

On her future plan, the ethnic weaver said she knows that the demand of Maniabandha dresses and sarees is very high in national and international market. “If the state government helps us, we will promote it. I want to have my own weaving machine so that I can give training to needy women so that they can be financially independent,” she added.

Jhuna Das

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