Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad is presenting an exhibition of eco-friendly silks, Weaving Lives: Ahimsa Silk, by Kusuma Rajaiah, from 2nd to 14th October, at the German Association's office in the Hermitage Office Complex, Hillfort Road. The exhibition contains a collection of photographs and illustrative material of an eco-friendly method of manufacturing mulberry silk, conceptualized and patented by Kusuma Rajaiah.
On display will also be raw material, by-products, end-products and such to show how this variety, Ahimsa Silk, named after the Gandhian concept of non-violence, differs from the usual commercial process of production. In the conventional method of production, the worms which spin their cocoons out of silk thread to protect themselves from predators, are boiled alive just 7 days short of freedom, as it is believed that the silk is at the finest at this stage. For producing a silk sari of eight yards, 15,000 silk worms are subjected to hot liquid or hot ovens.
Fabrics woven through the Ahimsa Silk method helps the silk moths to live a full life. Here, the silk thread is retrieved after the moth leaves the cocoon. As the moth punctures the cocoon in order free itself out, this breaks the silk thread. From an ordinary cocoon, 80% of the thread can be procured as yarn, but from an empty one, this goes down to a very low 16%. The finished sari reflects this cost, and is one-and-a-half times costlier than a regular silk sari. But the extra price one pays contributes to a full life-cycle for these tiny living creatures which otherwise face an immature death.
Kusuma Rajaiah, the technical officer of APCO, is the one who invented this method, and has received the patent from the Government of India to manufacture this form of silk. Research is being done to bring down the cost of this silk by increasing the quantity of thread retrieved from a single cocoon.
The exhibition will also be accompanied by an on-request screening of a documentary film, Weaving Lives, by Saraswati Kavula. Please contact Goethe-Zentrum at 6552-6443 for further details.