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National Handloom Day: Are We Safeguarding Or Self-Centering?

Written by : LifeStyle Team

National Handloom Day this 7th of August.

Are we safeguarding or self-centering?

Did we forget our cultural roots?

It's easier to bend a sapling, than a tree. Forget about bending, how about a tree standing strong? So here roots play a major role in the growth and development of a tree. You might be wondering why I started with roots and growth. That’s because we are celebrating National Handloom Day, this Wednesday, 7th of august and today's read is about reminiscing the cultural roots that slowly faded.

But first how many of us know that the Swadeshi movement was started on August 7 in 1905 and that's why we celebrate National Handloom day this day? Well, this isn't over, there is much to know about National Handloom Day.

“It was Markandeya Maharshi, who was believed to be a deity of the weaving community and was the prime reason and inspiration behind the creation of the fabric. Our Veda’s say that Devis used these fabrics for clothing, made by Markandeya Maharshi”, says Mr. Ramanadham, owner of RS Krafts.

The primitive man started using animal skin and plant leaves to cover his body in the beginning and as he evolved, fabrics came into practice. Inspired by nature, he slowly invented the making of the fabric, first by using animal bone and inserting the fabric into it. Before industrialisation, hand-spun and hand-woven were ways to weave the fabric and latter looms came into existence.

Earlier though all the classes of people used some clothes/fabrics to wrap around the body, it is said that few used only cotton and some royals used handlooms. It is also believed that the goddess Sita used handloom “naaravastra” during her tenure in vanavasa.

The colours used in making handloom clothes are natural colours. The process of making a handloom product usually takes much patience and time. The entire family of the weavers involved in the making of handlooms. But unfortunately, the income one can generate making a handloom product is very low, which isn't sufficient to run a family. This is one prime reason weavers shift to other occupations to earn a living. Later machinery replaced handlooms due to industrialisation.

“The number of weavers left in the state of Telangana as per government records is fifteen thousand and more which is an alarming situation. Though these people have a choice to make a living from some other source, they still choose to weave out of interest, passion and to save our cultural heritage,” says Mr. Ramanadham.

Further talking with him he mentioned that 95% of the world's handloom fabric is from India. Quoting an example, Mr. Ramanadham spoke about the current handloom situation in our country. “In Japan, many elite groups of people order Ikat handlooms. People call the company prior, mention about design and place order for the clothing. This takes a few months to a year to deliver the clothing after the order has been placed. Still, people there wait patiently and continue the orders. That's the love and respect they give for handloom”.

Asking suggestions on how the handloom industry here can be developed, Mr. Ramanadham said that, “People need to start using and gifting the handloom and handicrafts. Also, the government needs to give more encouragement to the weavers, provide them with facilities required and market the handloom products at a decent price. The government needs to set short and long term goals to sustain the craft. Mandatory rules like wearing only traditional dresses to temples should be started to encourage and create awareness on handlooms”, he added.

People need to begin celebrating festivals like “Bommala Koluvu”, “Bommala Pelli” where people celebrate it by wearing handlooms and displaying handlooms,” he concluded.

Could you now relate my bringing of the topic roots and tree at the beginning of the article? Like how roots play a vital role in a tree's development and strength, we shouldn’t forget that the nation's growth and development also lies in the roots of our cultural heritage.

National Handloom Day is coming and its time we do our part to save our cultural heritage. It's time we bring back our roots and encourage and support our weavers who are already doing their part to protect our cultural heritage.

Information Credits: Mr. Ramesh Ramanadham, RS Krafts. 

(Image courtesy: Shuttershock)