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Ahimsa Silk: Non-Violence, Sustainability & Future

The popular textile silk is the embodiment of luxury. It is a natural fibre known for its excellent properties like strength, luster, durability, and light-weightedness. In the process of production of regular silk, the silkworms are submerged in boiling water which kills them in order to obtain an unbroken long silk yarn from the cocoon.

What is Ahimsa Silk?

Ahimsa silk, the name itself has the word ‘Ahimsa’ a Hindi word meaning ‘Non-Violence’, is a technique developed to extract silk without killing silkworms. It was commercialized in the year 2001. It is a cruelty-free method, unlike the conventional silk in which silkworms are put in boiling water to obtain silk which leads to killing them.

What is the origin of Ahimsa Silk?

In the early 1990’s India’s former President R Venkataraman’s wife was on a state visit to silk-producing industries in Andhra Pradesh where she raised a question to Mr Kusuma Rajaiah if silk could be made without killing the caterpillars which led him on a path to research and ended in the founding of the technique for Ahimsa Silk. 

How is Ahimsa Silk produced?

For the production of Ahimsa Silk, cocoons are bought from the farmers and kept in open bamboo baskets. After approximately ten days, the silkworm grows into a silk moth. The silkworm oozes a liquid to soften its cocoon and pierce through it naturally. Cocoons and the moths are separated by hand and the moths are left peacefully. Silk is extracted from the broken cocoons by softening them in boiling water. It is then spun into silk yarn.

How is Ahimsa Silk different from other silks?

The produced fabric has a smoother texture, is wrinkle-free, comfortable to wear and is as durable as regular silk. It has the excellent qualities of absorption of sweat and letting air pass through. It is a fabric which can be worn in every weather and can retain both warmth and coolness. Having a sublime quality it gets draped very elegantly.

What are the disadvantages of Ahimsa Silk?

  • It take more amount of time and labour to produce Ahimsa silk.
  • When it comes to shining, Ahimsa Silk is relatively less lustrous.
  • It is costlier as it takes more man force and time.

Is Ahimsa Silk sustainable?

Yes, the production of Ahimsa Silk does not include harming or killing silkworms which is in contrast to conventional silk in which cocoons are boiled killing the silkworm inside. It’s a cruelty-free fabric creating a step towards an eco-friendly environment.

What is the future of Ahimsa Silk?

There is a rapid increase in people identifying as vegans in the US, UK, Portugal and Australia, which is the fastest growing vegan market in the world. The non-violent silk addresses the requirement of niche clientele across the US, Europe, the Far East and the Middle East and has been steadily growing and will have an even bigger clientele in the future. 

The globe is discussing non-violence, and as a thoughtful consumer one should we aware about the production practices of the garments one buys. This can be one step towards eco-friendly fashion in the age of conscious fashion.

Photo by Renatto Mora on Unsplash