Firoz Akhtar is 53 years old and he hails from Gorkhpur, Uttar Pradesh India. He hails from the family of weavers. Gorakhpur is traditionally a hub for hand weaving and fabric making and Firoz joined his father in this traditional occupation at the age of 22. His family was making regular income with this traditional skill unaware of the technological shift happening around which was to shape his future.
With the globalization in full swing during the 1980s, India strived to go with the technological advancements in the fabric weaving in race to become the leading producers of fabric in the world. As a result, large factories with numerous of power loom began operating in the small town of Gorakhpur known for handwoven fabric production and all the government subsidies too were provided to these big fish. This threw the small hand loom weavers, the smaller fishes, out of business in Gorakhpur. The automation of fabric production in India however had a spillover effect as the handweaving businesses began increasing in neighboring Nepal.
Adept in handweaving, it was easy to find job in Nepal than change the profession in India. So, began his weaving journey in Nepal. He first began weaving fabric in the border town of Bhairahawa and then he moved to Kathmandu to weave Pashmina. After weaving in about 2-3 pashmina workshops in Kathmandu, he moved to Palpa to weave dhaka fabric. It was some thirteen years ago.
Being an experienced weaver, Firoz did not face any difficulty in learning dhaka weaving. As the border of Bhairahawa is near Palpa, He could reach his hometown Gorakhpur in a day if needed. Firoz currently operates a Full Jacquard Handloom. In a day he weaves about 2.5 meters of fabric, working 9 hours a day and makes around Rs. 18,000 a month. He lives frugally and saves around Rs. 8000 a month which he sends home to his family. He has four children who are now grown up and holds some small jobs around Gorakhpur. He is concerned with the increasing inflation in Palpa because of which he is struggling to save his earnings and send money home. He hopes to stay in Palpa and continue weaving dhaka fabric until his body allows him to.