Saeed Ur Rahman, one of the prominent master weavers in Banaras works with small weavers at Taj Estate at Bhelupura, Varanasi to create unique handwoven sarees.
He had a significant contribution in founding the Taj Estate at Bhelupura, Varanasi, which has now become a reputed brand in heirloom Banaras textiles and has been approached by the likes of designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee for custom-woven saris.
Hailing from a family of six weaver brothers, Saeed’s speciality is in handwoven delicate organza, cotton and fine count silk. By and by he honed his weaving skills and introduced tussar and jute fibers in Banarasi saris.
In the early 1980s, the brothers established a humble shop to sell hand woven Banarasi saris woven by their family and that of other weavers. During a visit to Delhi, a textile expert advised them to register a company and start selling. Saeed and his brother set up Taj Estate as an independent firm in 1986. Orders kept coming in through their store in Varanasi and through designers for weddings and special occasions.
The masterweaver was recently in Hyderabad for an exhibition at the Crafts Council of Telangana premises, CCT Spaces..
Saeed cites the example of a Banarasi sari worn by an actor. After designing a saree worn by Anushka Sharma as part of her bridal trousseau, the trend spread like wildfire and a lot more women showed interest in Banarasi saris. When celebrities wear a handloom sari, it benefits the business and the weavers.
Though the pandemic obstructed the sales, the weavers are trained to use their savings wisely. A few special weaves also took shape during this time. The weavers worked on 10 Banarasi ‘rangkat’ saris, which are unique for their woven colour block patterns and another gossamer-like sari named Hawa Mahal, in which the jaali pattern gives an airy quality to the sari.
They all got sold at a handsome amount.
The process is tedious as these exquisite sarees can take three or four months to weave. When it takes longer to weave a sari, it is the duty of the master weaver to give the weaver some financial support till the order is complete.But at the end the hard work pays well as people with artistic temperament will always come to weavers.