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Tradition at risk

Textile: Days are getting colder. This is the time of year when women in Radhi, Trashigang are fully engaged in weaving bura (raw silk) ghos and kiras.

Radhi is known for exquisite bura textiles and traditional dyes. However, not many women in Radhi weave. There aren’t many women left. Education and development have sent many  young woman of this village to bigger cities looking for job.

Yeshey Choden is one of the few weavers left in Radhi. Older women have quit and younger ones are leaving the village. “They have no interest in weaving.”

Sangay Zangmo, another weaver in Radhi, said that most weavers in Radhi are middle-aged women. Indeed. And the number is decreasing year after year.

Kinley, 73, stopped weaving about a decade ago. She would have continued weaving had her eyes not given her problem. “Back then, women also used to weave together in groups. Only a few do so today.”

A person could make about Nu 150,000 a year from bura textiles. That was about a decade ago. Today, one would be lucky to get Nu 30,000.

Kinzang Yeshey has hired about 40 women to weave bura textiles. He said that most of the women he has hired are those who cannot afford to buy silk for themselves.

“If we don’t hire them, there may come a time when they would opt not to weave,” said Kinzang Yeshey, adding that his only daughter doesn’t have an eye for weaving bura. “Should this be the reaction from the youth, the tradition of weaving bura is certainly at risk.”

Gradually so, the tradition that was passed down through generations, is dying.

By Tshering Wangdi, Trashigang

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