Urmul Marusthali Bunkar Vikas Samiti (UMBVS) is a community-based organization that has succeeded in improving the social and economic status of handweavers in villages of Western Rajasthan. This article gives a narrative account of the formation of UMBVS and the changes in circumstances among traditional pit loom weavers who have joined UMBVS and received training in the weaving of new products for urban markets. The vision and persistent efforts of key leaders have helped UMBVS to thrive despite many challenges, not only in product and market development but also in generating the trust and participation essential to community development. The article includes the background of chief executive Ram Chandra Barupal whose commitment has helped weavers break the constraints of poverty. The author's experience at the Urmul Phalodi Weavers' Centre and nearby villages conveys the atmosphere of the place and the voices of the people.
Weaving New Freedoms in Rajasthan
Proud and industrious artisans were once the backbone of Indian economy, providing much of the goods and services that our people needed. Today these artisans have been marginalized by the modernization and industrialization of society. Though some have managed to adapt to changing times and a few have even thrived, most of them live in abject poverty with no hopes for a better tomorrow. (1995, Status Report of India's Artisans) Urmul Marusthali Bunkar Vikas Samiti (UMBVS) is a grass roots organization in rural Rajasthan that is well-known in India for improving t...