Ganga Kanere lives and works in the village of Malaharganj, situated on the outskirts of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh state, famous for its handloom saris. Ganga is a skilled weaver whose family have been weaving for several generations. He set up a small business in 2016 (read more about Maheshwar handloom and these initiatives here
) and until March 2020 he was employing 10 weavers but due to the first lockdown, was forced to stop working all together as orders were cancelled and no further orders came in (images include Ganga and family and one of Ganga's weavers Rakesh in his home with his wife). The government have not provided any financial support for loss of earnings.
I met Ganga several years ago while conducting research for a PhD into design education for handloom weavers. Ganga supported the research with interpretation in interviews (he has excellent spoken English which he taught himself and has taught at a local private school which has closed due to Covid restrictions), knowledge and advice. He is an excellent point of contact for any non-Hindi speakers visiting the town and wanting to know more about the weaving industry.
Ganga plans to re-start his business to ensure a future for handloom and regular income for himself and his weavers. With 1.3 lakh rupees (approx £1,260 / $1,780) he will be able to start 5 looms back up again, pay his weavers 7-8 thousand and buy raw material for the first month.
Maheshwar is famous for its handloom industry which dates back at least as far as the 18th century when Maharani Ahilyabhai Holkar invited weavers from all over the country to weave for the royal courts. In the present day, handloom employs over 7000 people. Maheshwar is a tourist hub and weavers rely heavily on passing tourists for trade. This, and trade more widely has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Any amount you can give would be invaluable in helping Ganga to achieve his business goals and ensure the continuation of the creative, highly-skilled and culturally important craft of Maheshwari weaving.