Desi : an indigenous vision

The word Desi means Indigenous, in most Indian languages. However, in our case, Desi also stands for a shortened expression of our stated concern i.e. Developing, Ecologically, Sustainable, Industry.

Desi is a leading service organization in Karnataka, in the handloom sector, today. It is a Bangalore based charitable trust, run by eminent personalities, from the field of Art, Literature, Design, Marketing and Fashion. It is in existence since, June 2000.

M.S. Sathyu, Prasanna, Jayanthi Marulasiddappa, Poonam Bir Kasturi, Chandrashekar….are, some of the well known names, in the field of art and design, amongst our trustees. Late Poornachandra Tejaswi, a great prose writer in Kannada, was our trustee, till he passed away last year.

Our Shops

Desi shops have become well known landmarks, in and around Bangalore, for naturally dyed handloom garments. But running these shops is just one of Desi’s many activities. We work closely with rural artisan groups. We act like a bridge, with the city, for several handloom societies, handicraft producers and women’s self help groups, spread all over the state of Karnataka. Desi works with these organisations, in the area of design, quality control, product reprofiling and human resource management. Desi also provides the vital market link, for these organisations.

Advocacy work, in handlooms

Desi, along with other nationally known organizations, has coordinated advocacy work for handlooms, as well. Desi has successfully represented weavers’ interest, in forums such as, the planning commission, NABARD, Karnataka State Swarna Jayanti Swarojgar Yojana implementation committee, Textile advisory committee etc.

Desi has tried to build consciousness, amongst Kannada speaking people, about ecological issues in general and handloom industry in particular, through publication of books and pamphlets. Desi is shortly going to bring out a Magazine in Kannada.

Book Shops

Every Desi Shop has a book shop attached to it. Apart from books of Kannada literature, the shop also sells Gandhian books, books on ecology and rural development

Desi Annual awards

With a view to recognize, the enormous contribution made by various service organisations and individuals, to this sector, and also  to  make, more and more institutions, and individuals, to come forward to work for this vital sector, Desi has instituted two prestigious Annual awards. The award carries a plaque, a citation, and a cash prize.  The awarded organization also gets, continued market support from Desi. For the year 2007-08 Two Societies and Two Individuals have been selected for the award.

Bonus scheme for weavers

Desi believes, that handloom is not a dying industry, as is being projected generally. We think that naturally dyed handloom fabric is, infact, the fabric of the future. But because of a terrible disconnect, between the market place and the dispersed rural production system, the current scenario is abysmal for the poor weaver.  Weavers are quitting the profession in hoards and are immigrating to the cities.  In order to encourage weavers to continue weaving, Desi has introduced a productivity linked bonus scheme, to all the Pre-loom-process workers and weavers, who are part of the supply chain for Desi. This bonus shall be in addition to the wages they get, from their respective societies.

Desi has earmarked a substantial portion of its retail profit for this purpose. We have trained village Societies, to keep account of the total production of each worker, under their domain.

Developmental funds from Desi

Desi has earmarked a separate fund, for developmental activities of its rural Producers. Through these funds, Desi provides, financial help for developmental work, such as infrastructure development, machinery purchase, training, design input, etc.

Khadi and Kambli work

Desi works in three of the four sectors of weaving i.e. Cotton handloom, Cotton Khadi and Woolen handloom. We do not work in the silk sector, because of a certain reservation we have, about its processing method.

Our Cotton handloom work happens, mainly through Charaka Society, at Bheemanakone village. And the Khadi work happens, in villages, in and around Jaglur town, in Davanagere District.  The Khadi garments thus produced by Sarvodaya Society registered at Alur village, is marketed by Desi, as ‘Jaglur Khadi’.

Jaglur and Kotturu Taluka’s of Davanagere and Bellary Districts, happen to be perpetually drought prone, and are the most backward Taluka’s in the entire state. Many health problems, including large prevalence of HIV infection, malnutrition, plague the poor people of this region. Jaglur Khadi, a successful brand at our retail stores, has become a small hope for the weavers of this region.

Desi Venturing into Kambli Products.

In the olden times, Shepherding used to be a major economic activity in the Deccan plateau of Karnataka. Kambli, the hand woven woolen blanket, enjoyed a huge patronage in the local markets of Karnataka, till the middle of twentieth century. Many Communities, such as Kuruba, Golla and Byada Nayaka, constituting more than fifteen percent of the state’s population, is involved in shepherding and woolen blanket weaving activities. The market for Kambli crashed, with the introduction of synthetic blankets.

Desi has started a scheme, through which, alternate products are being designed using Kambli. We are also setting up a unit, at Bheemanakone,   to weave woolen Durries, using naturally dyed and hand spun Yarn.

The results of these initial forays into this sector are extremely encouraging.

Desi & Exhibition.

Desi has been in the forefront in participating in the Exhibitions. During 2007-08 we have had exhibition of our products in Software Companies / Educational Institutions like

1.      Synopsis

2.      Sanken Communications

3.      Intel Corporation

4.      St. Joseph’s College for Women

The exhibition received an overwhelming response.