Amarjit Kaur, Weaver, Singhanwala (Moga)

I have spent all my life working on the loom. I used to weave cotton blankets, now I weave woolen blankets. Everyone used to work on cotton earlier. It was my own effort that I started weaving woolen blankets.

I have spent all my life working on the loom. I used to weave cotton blankets, now I weave woolen blankets. Everyone used to work on cotton earlier. It was my own effort that I started weaving woolen blankets. The wool is divided proportionally and the pattern is formed accordingly on the blanket. We lay the warp here at home, and then I weave the weft on the loom. Warp beam, heddles, harnesses shuttle, reed and take-up roll are the components of this loom. I use these shuttles to weave the multi-colored wool across the warp, and I use the batter to settle the weave.

The cost depends on the type of wool used, anywhere between 200 to 400 Rs. per kilogram. One blanket requires one and a half or two kg wool. It costs less if worn out wool is used. My blanket-weaving fee is 250 rupees; rest is the effort. You can take two months or two days to finish one blanket. Earlier, I could finish it in one and half days. Nowadays it takes more time; even if I weave continuously, it still takes three days.

This new loom in my new house is my own creation. I explained and my son made it. I can also sew and I charge 120 Rs. per suit, but I find weaving more enjoyable. People are not that excited to get a new suit. When I sew a suit, I take time out to work on the blankets. I have weaved innumerable blankets and people like them a lot. The old sarpanch wanted to get a new blanket. He wondered how these shuttle and battens make a blanket. But when I gave him the finished product, he was very happy. He gave me an award of 100 Rs.

I worked on a dhaba for six months. I cooked food and rotis and I made five thousand a month there. It was just an impulse to try to work like that too. The dhaba did not make profits and was shut down. I have been weaving ever since.

I experienced happiness only when I was young. Now that I am old, I have to deal with miseries. I started weaving when I was young because it was interesting. It was not about money, I just could not sit idle. I learned to weave from my mother. When I was little, I would start working on her loom. She would tell me not to ruin it but I insisted on learning it.

I was married when I was 18. I became a conscious being after I moved in with my in-laws. The resources were scarce and the family was big. So I started sewing clothes and weaving cotton shawls and woolen blankets. I am 70 years old; my sons’ father has worked a lot too. I get old age pension now.

Interview: Gurdeep Dhaliwal

Text: Jasdeep Singh

Edits: Sangeet Toor

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