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Our villages need it the most, says the man who employs over 40,000 weavers
Few know Chaudhary’s humble roots, one of India’s largest producer-exporters of hand-knotted wool and silk carpets. He started out as a salesman in his father’s footwear shop in the small town of Churu, Rajasthan. Having grown up watching rug weavers in his hometown and driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, he started Jaipur Rugs in 1978 with two looms and nine artisans. Today, his company employs more than 40,000 weavers—about 80 percent of them women—across six states including the Bhadohi-Mirzapur belt of Uttar Pradesh and tribal districts in Gujarat.
Chaudhary believes his success stems from his desire to equate quality production while enhancing artisans’ skills “so they can lead sustainable and respectable lives,” he says. “We have always stood for Make in India. Our focus on carpet-making is significant because, like many handicrafts in India, it is a dying art. Fewer and fewer families continue this type of work. Many weavers make carpets part-time to supplement farming incomes. Their children migrate to cities in search of more secure jobs. It is imperative that we contain this devaluation of unique traditional skills to support a major export sector. Make in India should have been adopted as a national initiative ten years ago. It must work at the bottom of the social pyramid, in our villages, where the need is greatest.”
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