Non –violence is not a cloistered virtue, confined only to the rishi and the cave dwellers. - Mahatma Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhiji also hoped that the Indian silk industry would use only those cocoons whose worms had already matured into moths and flown out into the world, not boiled to death for the sake of the rich yarn known all over the world as a symbol of India.
It will be a great surprise us to know that the fabric we use for the pious purposes and occasions is the end product of killing of thousands of innocent creatures such as silk worms. Almighty definitely shall not expect any prayer, worship or offering, from any devotee who is robed with fabric produced from Himsa i.e. violence be it knowingly or unknowingly. And for those who understand the value of life, money is but small price to pay. Statistics might baffle you, but about 30,000 innocent silk moths have to be roasted/boiled to kill to make a six yard sari.
I dispensed with the conventional method of boiling the live silk worms in the shape of cocoons to extract the requisite filament/thread, and allowing the silk moth to pierce out the cocoon naturally and come out from its metamorphosis and live their fullest life peacefully. I am using the pierced cocoons to extract the required silk thread by spinning the silk fibre and making required fabrics out of it and preaching & spreading the Ahimsa concept to the world. Many people are inspired to the Ahimsa and following.
Government of India granted Patent under Intellectual Property Rights for the Ahimsa silk in the name of “Eco-friendly Method of Manufacturing Mulberry silk (Bombyx Mori) Yarn” in the year 2006 and also Trade Marks.
Kusuma Rajaiah, basically a Technocraft in Handloom Technology and having 40 years practical experience in this industry is aware of all these facts and struggled for several years to create an alternative silk fabric where there is no killing, no cruelty and at the same time the fabric value is totally protected. That struggle paved the way to invent Ahimsa Silk.
Kusuma. Rajaiah conducted research in the field and invented the technique of getting silk yarn from cocoons without killing the silk worms, for the first time in the World in the year 1991. After prolonged research the Ahimsa silk is made marketable in the year 2000. In our production process child and forced labor are not engaged and there is no discrimination on the basis of sex.
The Sanskrit word “ahimsa” means Non-violence. It is used to describe this innovation because the fabric is manufactured in a process where silkworms are not killed. For this reason, the product is also known as peace silk. Ahimsa silk is extracted after the silkworm has completed metamorphosis and emerged from the cocoon. Considering the increased awareness of animal protectionism around the world.
Kusuma Rajaiah, a senior technical officer with a government organization in India, is tasked with the responsibility of developing ahimsa silk into a viable commercial product.
There are many types of silkworms, but Bombyx mori is mainly used for commercial cultivation. The silkworms are placed in bamboo baskets and fed mulberry leaves. As they consume the leaves, the insects exude viscous fluids through head glands. These substances are fibroin (raw silk) and sericin (bonding gum). The substances harden upon contact with air, forming the basic silk filament, which is a combination of two fibers held together by the gum. The silkworm oozes out the fibroin continuously for about 1,000 yards, forming an oval nest or cocoon. But as the worm is still alive inside the cocoon.
In the production of regular silk, the cocoons are poured into boiling water to extract the silk filament by killing the silk worms/moths. With ahimsa silk, however, cocoons are saved for seven to 10 days. Once the worms mature, they pierce the cocoons and comes out naturally as moths and they leave their fullest life peacefully. Then the ahimsa silk process begins. Each cocoon is checked individually to ensure that the moth has escaped before the silk thread is spun.
Spinning takes around two months and weaving another month. In other words, shipments can be ready three months after the moths escape. We can produce up to 5,000 meters per month. Ahimsa silk is promoted as having the popular properties than regular silk. Even though it is slightly less lustrous, it is even softer to the touch. Currently, it remains a niche product due to its higher price range. While normal silk fabric of the 80 grams per meter vary is price with that ahimsa of the same quality. “People are becoming more environmentally aware and compassionate to animals. “Though ahimsa silk may not replace regular silk, we are confident it will be adopted by those who are concerned about living creatures”.
In Indian ParliamentTitle: Discussion on the motion for consideration of the Central Silk Board (Amendment) Bill, 2006 as passed by Rajya Sabha.
Mention of Ahimsa Silk Invented by Kusuma.Rajaiah by Shri B.Mahtab ji, Hon'ble Member of Parliament, Cuttack.
My second point here is that recently a news item has been published, and I am sure the Minister is aware and has heard about Kusuma Rajaiah of Andhra Pradesh and the process he has popularised by not slaughtering of any living organism. He is allowing the moth to fly away before boiling the cocoons for reeling silk. Such eco-friendly method of manufacturing mulberry silk yarn should be encouraged. Not only the Jains but those who believe in non-violence and are interested in proper maintenance of ecology should encourage this also, Though this method spares the worm of a brutal death, it costs more than the conventional method. Under the traditional method, a single cocoon yields nearly 500 metres of shimmering yarn in filament form whereas the non-violent method produces 60-70 metres of yarn, less shining and discontinuous.
Hence it has to be hand-woven or mill-spun. The silk, though more expensive, is sweat-absorbent and the couture-conscious love it.
The first American couple purchased Ahimsa Silk emerald green fabric for their wedding in June 2001, a fabric made in India in an ecologically friendly and nonviolent manner. The groom wore a matching tie of the same material. Store Locations