Kusuma Rajaiah, an Indian man, has developed a new technique for producing silk that does not require killing silk worms in the process. [Note: We've been informed that a company in Oregon, Peace Silk, already uses this technique]. Right now, producing a silk saree involves killing of at least 50 thousand silkworms. Rajaiah has won the patent for producing the "Ahimsa" silk. Ahimsa is a religious concept which advocates non-violence and a respect for all life. However, the production of the silk is more expensive. For example, a saree which costs 2400 rupees to produce using regular silk, will cost 4000 rupees when made with Ahimsa silk.
Rajaiah says: "My inspiration is Mahatma. He gave a message to the Indian silk industry that if silk can be produced without killing silkworms, it would be better. He dreamt but that did not happen in his lifetime. I am the happiest person that at least I could do this little thing."
Rajaiah says he started giving a serious thought to "Ahimsa" silk when in the 1990s. Janaki Venkatraman, wife of the former President, asked if she could get a silk saree that is made without killing silk worms. Yarn for a silk saree is usually produced by throwing live cocoons of silkworm into boiling water. A single saree needs upto 50,000 cocoons. Rajaiah allows the moth to escape from the cocoon by waiting for 7-10 days and then uses the shells to produce yarn.