Illkal Sarees has been registered under Geographical Indication tag on 16th October 2006. Illkal Saree was earlier famous in Maharashtra and gradually it also spread to Neighbouring villages in Illlkal village of Bagalkot district and later that place became famous for this handloom craft. The handloom weaver struggles a lot to earn their livelihood. The cotton wrap is used for making the body, silk wrap is used for making the border and pallu portion of the saree.
In the year 1905, the Swadeshi Movement was started by Mahatma Gandhi and hand spinning was reintroduced by the name “Khadi”.In 1985, the cheap import was the major reason due to which handloom industry faced huge loss and also parroting by power loom. The huge downfall in government policy and funding also was the reason for the downfall. Also, the cost of raw fabric has gone up but the wages of handloom weavers haven’t seen much of a hike.
“ In the beginning when I started there were 6 women in the house for work, now only 3 women are left. All my kids used to work, but now everyone is behind education. Before me, my mother in law, my sister in law, all of them were into this work. I learned to make saree from my husband. It’s really hard to be done. The thread is also really thin, which is not visible. It has been 15 -16 years, I have learned this. People don’t get enough money that’s why they don’t do this. I feel peace doing this because of its good for me. This work gives me satisfaction. Handloom sarees are quality wise really nice. It stays for 100 years. Compare to power loom sarees handloom sarees stays for a long time. Handloom sarees color doesn’t fade away. For making a saree we need two people who can work for 5 hours. In the afternoon after lunch, we sit and stitch saree. Our generation is the last generation, in this work field. My kids don’t want to work in this profession, we have sent them for studies. I have been in this handloom work for last 10years and after me, my kids are not going to work,” said Lakshmi Bae, Illkal handloom weaver.
“Once the weaver gets training from the Ministry of Handloom and Textile Department, they receive a certificate, from that certificate, they receive handloom weaver photo identity card on that identity card basis, they receive a loan from the bank. But maximum weaver from the village learn Handloom weaving from their parents so they don’t receive and they don’t get a loan from the government.,” said H.N. Chillal, Bank Manager, Illkal Co-operative Bank Limited.