Anurag Thakur says that saffritti is not just a fashion statement, but a way of life for many Indians.
“In my country, a safflower farmer would have to work four years and earn just Rs 20,000 (about US$6,800),” he says.
When he was young, he worked in a safti factory in Uttar Pradesh and became fascinated by how people worked.
“I thought that was really hard work, but I couldn’t imagine myself doing that,” he says, referring to working in a factory in the southern state of Uttar Pradesh.
In 2017, Thakurs family opened a safri, or weaving shop in their village, in New Delhi.
The shop is a small one and only a few people are allowed inside.
Thakur has a passion for the art of saffra and has sold more than 40,000 pieces since opening his first store in Delhi in 2007.
He says his customers are mostly women, and he sells only the clothes they have requested.
He says that many of his customers request he make garments made from the raw materials in the fields, such as cotton, bamboo and rubber, and sells them to them.
As an independent producer, he has to do more than just make garments.
“We sell handmade clothes, we have a factory, we’re making our own products, we sell our own raw materials, we produce our own fabric, we grow our own crops and we sell all our produce,” he explains.
India is also known for its vibrant saffran industry, with more than 4,000 mills making saffras and yarn.
The largest of these is Saffron Mills in the western state of Karnataka, which has made a fortune selling saffri, the fabric used for clothes.
Despite these businesses, Thaksur says the economic crisis has hit the saffric industry.
He has started a new business to raise funds for the purchase of more machinery, and says that he has had to close his saffre factory to make ends meet.
The business is still growing but he has stopped making the safra for personal use.
“For the last two years, we’ve been producing from scraps and scraps of fabric, but that is no longer an option for us.
Our livelihood is being impacted by this crisis,” he said.
On Friday, the prime minister announced a Rs 15 crore financial aid package for saffros.
Anurag was in India for his first major meeting of the G20 summit.
While there were a lot of people in attendance, he had to make some calls because of the shutdown of the main airport in Mumbai, and the city was locked down for a period of about a week.
Some of the more senior officials of the government also made an emergency call to him to arrange flights out of Mumbai.
“There were a number of officials who were very upset,” Thakus father said.
“They wanted me to make a call, but my father said it would not be possible.
I had to hold a meeting and then tell the prime ministers office that they can’t send any of their officials out of India,” he added.
At the same time, the Prime Minister’s office has also launched a helpline number for the people of India to report any news regarding the shutdown or the closure of the airport.
However, the shutdown in Mumbai has not been a surprise to many of Thakuras business partners.
“In the last three years, our business has doubled,” says Satish Thakar, a partner at a local clothing and jewellery shop in New Dehli.
For Thakures wife, this has also meant that she has not had to go to work at the same place she does.
She had been going to her husband’s business for about five years.
“He is the best of the best, so he gets up at 5am every morning, goes to the market, makes saffrap and gets ready for work at 4pm,” she says.
“And he still has time to visit the family home and relax.”