A weaver from Telangana has made a saree that can fit inside a matchbox, and no, its compressibility does not come at the cost of wearability. The 5.5 metre long garment is in news after Nalla Vijay of Rajanna Sircilla district displayed it before Telangana ministers KT Rama Rao, P Sabitha Indrareddy, V Srinivas Goud and Errabelli Dayakar Rao. This saree made from pure silk was presented to former American President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle too when they came to India in 2015. Talking to News18, Vijay said: “My father Nalla Parandhamulu started weaving the Matchbox Saree while trying to find a way to keep the wolf out of the door. He had presented one to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Weaving this saree is a time-consuming and labour-intensive process. It takes 15-20 days to weave it on the handloom. We do not use any kind of chemical to make the garment and it is 100 percent natural. We get the pure silk from Jangaon district and use only vegetable dyes to impart colour.”
The official handle of Telangana IT department tweeted about the saree recently.
అగ్గిపెట్టెలో పట్టే చీరను నేసిన సిరిసిల్లకు చెందిన యువ నేతన్న నల్ల విజయ్ ఈరోజు హైదరాబాద్లో మంత్రులు @KTRTRS, @DayakarRao2019, @SabithaindraTRS, @VSrinivasGoud సమక్షంలో తను నేసిన చీరను ప్రదర్శించారు. విజయ్ నేసిన ఈ అద్భుతమైన చీరను చూసి మంత్రులు అభినందించారు pic.twitter.com/r4tVA5GvZf— Minister for IT, Industries, MA & UD, Telangana (@MinisterKTR) January 11, 2022
The comments section was flooded with remarks admiring the weaver’s skills.
Vijay informed us that the lady in yellow in the photos is wearing a Matchbox Saree too. At a time when traditional garments are perceived to be too heavy to wear, this saree can be a game changer. Right now, a handloom unit is being put up to make these sarees, says Vijay. However, he adds, this is not enough. “Despite our talent, we struggle to make ends meet. These sarees do not bring us much profits as the input resources end up costing more than what we earn. They can be easily made on the power loom in just three days, but the quality is never going to be same as the handloom ones. I request the state government to offer us financial assistance so that we can keep our grand weaving traditions alive.”
The starting cost of the saree is Rs 10,000 and it can go upwards depending on the materials used. Some customers request us to stich in silver zari too, adds Vijay. Blouses and dupatta can also be made from the same material.
When the Obamas had come visiting, Vijay had presented the saree to the first couple through former Union Minister for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya. “We want to display the unique weaving traditions of India all over the world and make our profession more sustainable,” says Vijay.
Rajanna Sircilla is a textile hub in Telangana. Covid-19 lockdowns have been cruel to the weavers, with many losing their livelihoods due to drastic dip in orders.