New Delhi, November 23, 2023: Breaking the traditional trend of silk production, Odisha adopts a non-violent method to extract silk from the silkworms. Promoting ethical and sustainable practises in the trade the state thus weaves compassion by naming the product ‘Karuna Silk’.
The new initiative is drawing the attention of the visitors at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
Promoted by Govt of Odisha, the skilled weavers from Routpada of Khordha District of the state are demonstrating their artistry live at IITF. The artisans, who have made the holy ‘Khandua Patta’ of Lord Jagannath for generations, are now weaving the same exclusively from ‘Karuna Silk’.
“The Cruelty-Free ‘Karuna Silk’, a new venture by Odisha, has become the USP at Odisha Pavilion this year. Visitors are taking a keen interest to know about this innovation story of ours”, says Sanjay Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary Information & Public Relations Department, Govt of Odisha. The department is the lead in conceptualising and setting up the State Pavilion at the trade fair.
Silk is the Strongest Natural fiber in the world. It is produced by controlled rearing of silkworms till they spin themselves into a cocoon on their journey to becoming a silk moth. These ultra-soft fibers are generally harvested from the cocoon in their raw state by boiling in hot water containing the innocent silkworm inside.
“Our Chief Minister always promotes the idea of Non-violence and desires that all the production processes follow the same. So we wanted to promote compassion by breaking the traditional method of ‘Filament Silk’ which kills the silkworms. In the new process, we let go of the moth honoring its life cycle”, says Shovan Krishna Sahu, Director, Department of Handlooms, Textiles & Handicrafts, Government of Odisha while narrating the story of transformation.
Odisha grows 3 types of Silk namely Mulberry, Tasar & Eri. Out of these Eri Silkworms are reared in this new & compassionate method under the brand name of ‘Karuna Silk’.
“When the moth flies away from the cocoon it ruptures the fiber. Through the ‘Worsted Spinning Process’ we develop the silk fiber ready for dyeing & weaving. This humane process adopted by Odisha is being appreciated in the industry & beyond”, explains Mr. Sahu Director of the Department which anchors the sericulture activities in the state.
Under Govt. of Odisha’s 5T initiative ‘Karuna Silk’ was introduced as a pilot program involving about 700 sericulture farmers. This year the department has been able to expand the initiative to 14 districts with 2500 silk farmers. The Eri silkworm is nurtured on castor plants.
“The Odisha Pavilion at IITF 2023 showcases a unique and wide range of handlooms & handicrafts from the hinterlands of the state. The ‘Karuna Silk’ grown with Ahimsa is a novel and praiseworthy initiative”, says Davendra K Dhodawat, Addl Chief Secretary to the Governor, Govt of Kerala while visiting the event.
The ‘Khandua Patta’ used in Jagannath Temple, Puri is unique for Ikat design along with the verses from Geeta Govinda by Poet Jaydev inscribed on it.
“We are happy to participate at this International Trade Fair supported by the Govt of Odisha. We are thankful for this opportunity to spread the story of compassion through ‘Karuna Silk’ in front of the whole world” narrates Ashok K Das a participating weaver from Routpada in Khordha district, Odisha.
A veteran weaver from the same community, Gopinath Das has a similar story to unveil at the Odisha Pavilion.
As per trade information, a typical Mulberry Silk Saree is produced by killing 10-20 thousand silkworms. Similarly in the traditional process, 5-7 thousand innocent silk worms lose their life in the making of a Tasar Silk Saree.
Odisha is a major silk-producing state in India. With the innovation of ‘Karuna Silk’, blending tradition with technology along with fostering compassion, Odisha is setting a new benchmark in a sustainable fashion.