Pyranga Eri Cluster, Boko, Assam
The climatic condition prevailing in the entire North Eastern Region (NER) is suitable for commercial exploitation of all four varieties of silk i.e., Mulberry Silk, Tasar Silk, Muga Silk & Eri Silk. Specially Assam has a favorable agro-climatic conditions for healthy growth and development of the Eri Silk. The tradition of Eri rearing, spinning and weaving was prevalent in the south Kamrup area since time immemorial. However, most of the people had either abandoned or were in the threshold of giving up the tradition due to lack of institutional support and ignorance about its potentialities.
With the realization of the need to commercially revive and explore the huge potential of Eri silk and to achieve socio-economic upliftment of the weavers and rearers engaged in Eri activities, the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) proposed a cluster on Eri Silk in Pyranga village of Boko area of Assam. Once the cluster was approved, IIE became the agency for implementation of soft intervention in this cluster which falls in the South Kamrup district of Assam and is at a distance of 80 kms from Guwahati. The cluster was formally adopted for intervention in July 2009 covering 200 artisans from two villages namely Pub Pyranga and Pachim Pyranga dominated by Rabha and Muslim community respectively.
The “Rabha” community had expertise in Eri rearing and the “Muslim” community had expertise in Eri spinning and weaving. Artisans of Eri spinning cluster Pyranga are expertise in preparing Eri stoles, mekhela chadar, kurta piece, wrapper, plain Eri fabric, naturally dyed Eri products etc.
Experimentation with natural dying Artisans of the Eri spinning cluster pyrenga, Kamrup are capable of creating 20 different colours of naturally dyed yarn. This became possible after an initiative was taken up in natural dyeing. The demand for naturally dyed Eri product is rising both in National and International market. The unique naturally dyed Eri with the indigenous colours has a wide market. Keeping this in mind, a natural dying workshop was organized for the artisans. The artisans can now make more than 20 colours with the locally available ingredients. They have got a very positive response for these naturally dyed Eri products particularly for the Eri stoles in the local as well as national market.
In the design development training artisans for the first time tried different products keeping the traditional feel intact in the designs. The artisans are now aware that there will be no limit to market demand if products can cater to the customers’ tastes and preferences. A marked difference that one can notice is that the artisans have developed the requisite skills to make varied products on order basis. Unlike the earlier practices when they were hesitant to take orders for different handloom products that were new to them they have now come forward to readily accept them and work on it.