Banarasi saris have been a pride and part of rich Indian traditional culture since the era of Mughals. But lately this market has been deprived of its fair share! There have been cheap imitations of Banarasi sarees imports from China in Indian market these days which eat into the share of Indian artisans of Varanasi [the hub of Banarasi saree weaving].
Normally, people are not able to distinguish between an original Banarasi sari and a fake one. Often people fall prey to the low cost fake Chinese made Banarasi saree for a real deal. A normal original Banarasi Saree costs anywhere near 4,000 rupees whereas as a fake Chinese import is about 2,500 rupees almost half the price. This has had an adverse effect on the living standards of the Indian Banarasi saree weavers. According to t a survey conducted in 2007, it was reported that almost 60% of the weaving community in Varanasi have taken a downfall.
As a matter of fact, many of the Banarasi sari weavers have now resorted to other means of livelihood such as tea stalls, rickshaw pulling, vegetable sellers etc. it is really unfair to the whole weaving community of India. They are suffering due to the cheap fake Banarasi sarees in the Indian market.
To save yourself from being duped next time you venture out to buy a Banarasi saree, here are the tips to identify an original Banarasi sari from a fake one!
•When you go to buy a Banarasi saree just pull its other side up i.e. reverse the saree to check for floats between the grids of warps and wefts on the saree. Only a hand-woven Banarasi saree will boats of such warp and weft technique. The machine fails to replicate that.
•Another way to identify a real Banarasi saree is to check for a six to eight inches long patch of plain silk on the Pallu of the Banarasi saree. A plus is that portion of the saree that goes over the shoulder.
•If you have ever seen a Banarasi saree before, you will notice that it mostly carries the Mughals patterns like amru, ambi and domak. A fake Banarasi saree wouldn’t have these Indian handmade Persian designs on it.
Recently, Banarasi sarees have got their own GI [geographical indication] protection against all the Chinese and Surat made saris. This an IPR i.e. intellectual property right to help people identify the original Banarasi sarees made from the six districts of Uttar Pradesh state in India [Varanasi, Azamgarh, Chandauli, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Sant Ravi Dass Nagar – Bhadohi].
Another import thing to check for while buying pure silk Saris is the Certificate of Authorised use of the Silk Mart logo. Always, insist on the certificate if you are buying a pure silk sari.