Unseen Passage: Silk

Reading Comprehension

Producing silk is a lengthy process and demands close attention. First, quality feed for silkworms needs to be cultivated. Then the worms need to be carefully hand-reared in controlled environmental conditions till the pupae spin the silk cocoons. Finally, the silk has to be extracted by human hand and then woven into fabric. South India is the leading silk-producing area of the country, and is also known for its famous silk-weaving enclaves like Kanchipuram, Dharmavaram and Arni. The traditional handloom silk always scores over the powerloom ones in the richness of their textures and designs, in their individuality, character and classic beauty. Handloom weaving remains a symbol of the versatility and creativity of living craft. Today, Indian silks, especially the handloom product remains the most beautiful and cherished the world over.

It is estimated that almost 85 per cent of the price of silk in the market goes back to communities that are engaged in sericulture and silk industry as the entire families are involved in production rather than one bread winner. It plays a huge role in the upliftment of communities from poverty to prosperity. If the consumption of silk increases, the entire village tends to prosper. The final part of silk production is the weaving of the fabric which is considered more of an art than an act. These communities depend solely on weaving silk for their livelihood and the distinct regions have developed their own character of weaving silk to establish indelible identities for themselves.

Silk has been intermingled with the life and culture of the Indians. Though India is producing all the varieties of silk, i.e., dress materials, scarves/stoles, readymade garments, etc., but the silk sarees are unique. The saree is almost synonymous with the word, ‘silk’. It has been the traditional costume of Indian woman since time immemorial. There are innumerable references in Indian literature about this draped garment and the style of wearing differs from time to time, region to region and people to people. The silk sarees of India are among the excellent living examples of the craftsmanship of the weavers of the country.

Q. Answer the following questions:

  1. What is the first step in silk production?
  2. How are the worms taken care of?
  3. Which is the most famous silk?
  4. Name a few famous South Indian silk producing centres.


  1. The first step in silk production is the cultivation of quality feed for the silkworms.
  2. The worms are reared in controlled environmental conditions.
  3. The traditional handloom silk is the most famous silk.
  4. A few famous South Indian silk producing centres are Kanchipuram, Dharmavaram and Arni.

Q. Choose the correct alternatives:

  1. How does the silk production help in the upliftment of communities?
    1. the entire families are involved in production
    2. almost 85% of the price of silk in the market goes back to communities
    3. the entire village tends to prosper
    4. All of the above
  2. What is the traditional costume of the Indian woman?
    1. scarves
    2. kurta
    3. saree
    4. Both (2) and (3)
  3. Which is the final part of silk-production?
    1. silk extraction
    2. the weaving of the fabric
    3. silk-weaving
    4. textures and designs
  4. Find the word from the passage which means the same as ‘use up’.
    1. materials
    2. indelible
    3. consumption
    4. remains


  1. almost 85% of the price of silk in the market goes back to communities
  2. saree
  3. the weaving of the fabric
  4. consumption

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