for The Times of India on Feb. 20, 2008
CHENNAI: ‘Ahimsa silk’, the fabric made without killing silkworms, is increasingly gaining popularity in foreign countries though it is yet to catch up in its land of origin.
Unlike the usual silk cloth, for which at least 1,500 silk worms are killed to produce one metre of cloth, ‘Ahimsa silk’ is made out of the cocoon left behind by the moth after completing its life-cycle.
According to ahimsa silk producers, the demand for such fabrics is steadily growing among animal lovers in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.
Pune-based Ahimsa Peace Silk Pvt Ltd’s said that over 60 per cent of the business comes from the US and the products are also exported to Europe, Japan and Australia, said Leelavati Sabale, president of the company.
According to Hyderabad-based Andhra Pradesh Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Society’s Kusuma Rajaiah, a pioneer in the production of ahimsa silk, over 40 per cent of the total production goes to the US and the fabrics were also been exported to Europe and the UK.
Since commercial production of the silk started in 2000, APCO has increased the capacity from 1,000 metres per annum to 5,000 mts per month. Ahimsa Peace Silk Pvt Ltd’s production also has gone up from 500 mts to 5,000 mts in three years’ time.
Though there was some awareness about the silk in south India, especially in Chennai, it was yet to become popular in the northern region, Rajaiah said.
He also has sought the help of government in promoting the silk.