Good Businesses 2013

Power of the looms

Jaipur Rugs, India’s largest carpet manufacturer, has improved the lives of 40,000 weavers

Photographs by Vishal Koul

Every morning around 7 am, the women of Narhet village in Rajasthan’s Alwar district meet at a community centre. It’s also a great opportunity for the little ones to play together as their mothers catch up on the latest happenings in the village, sing and sometimes dance and also earn their livelihood. Four looms dot the community centre and the women, dressed in colourful lehengas and odhnis, settle into place to tie knots faster than the eye can see. It takes two weavers more than two months to make an 8x10 foot carpet, 16-year-old Sita explains, her fingers flying across the warp. She adds that the carpets Narhet’s men and women make are then processed for finishing touches before being sent off to stores in the US and the UK. “I know so much because I go to school,” Sita says as her mother Ramta Devi pats her back proudly. Sita studies in the village school and helps her mother on the loom once she’s free.