Benaras who are renowned for weaving Benarasi saris through generations. But
nowadays, the community is receiving attention for another reason: TB.
“Initially I was not feeling hungry, then I started coughing and having fever,”
says Sarvar. “Then I became really weak and was bed-ridden and could not work
anymore.” Gulam was infected with TB.
are thousands of such weavers who are becoming a victim of this disease. Around
30% of the population is infected with TB. It is easy for the weavers to get
infected because of the dingy spaces they work out of. There is not much light
or fresh air in the rooms where the looms are and the conditions are perfect
for the TB bacteria to come into full form. The dust, the smoke and the fibre
also add to the hazardous mix which brings down their immunity – priming them
for an attack.
immunity is low. What worsens the state of the patients is the lack of proper
medical attention and facility. On one hand the government officials are
negligent and the other is the problem of patients going to quacks instead of
trained health professionals. This is aggravated by the poverty of the weavers.
“We take the medication for as long as we can afford it,” says Badarunisha. But
can we afford to leave these weavers to their fate?