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National handloom Day: Do weavers in India need it?

Why is National Handloom Day necessary? Handlooms and crafts are seen as soft diplomacy instruments and can be used to empower small businesses and show the diversity of identities within a country.

National Handloom Day is a welcome addition to a country so rich in textiles and weavings, which are unique to every town. National Handloom Day was established in 2015. It was inaugurated on August 7, 2015, the same day the Swadeshi Movement was founded in 1905. The Swadeshi Movement honored our country's weavers, indigenous fabrics, and artisans. To promote handiwork and Indian crafts, artisans and weavers receive 'Sant Kabir" awards every year.

Why do people choose handloom products?

Handlooms are not only important for cultural and aesthetic reasons. They are also essential to diplomatic and political engagements as they are emblems of a nation's identity, culture, and inclusive development. Indira Gandhi, for example, was well-known for her simple but beautiful collection of shawls and weaves. Handlooms and crafts can be seen as instruments for soft diplomacy and enable cottage industries to showcase the many identities within a country.

Integral to Soft Diplomacy.

Since the 18th century, diplomatic relations have been enriched by aesthetic mementos, decor, and craft. According to a French traveler Tavernier, the Ambassador for the Shah of Persia (1628-1641), returned from India with a "coconut shell, set with jewels, which contained a Muslin tunic of thirty yards length, so exquisitely delicate that it could scarcely feel by the touch." (Heritage Crafts & Traditions of India, NCERT 2018, 2018).

Varanasi's special weave, the 'Kadhua' Banarasi silk, was presented in 2015 to Michelle Obama. Kadhua silk scarfs are made with Banarasi silk, woven with silver and gold threads. Ivanka Trump received a gift from the Telangana government' Pochampally saris' during her maiden trip to India for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017.

Modi also presented a shawl for his mother to Nawaz Sharif, Pakistani Prime Minister, at his swearing-in ceremony of 2014 of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi's mother was presented with a sari by Sharif later. Similar efforts in "sari diplomacy" have been an integral part of bilateral interactions and were evident during the meeting between Bangladesh's PM Sheikh Hasina and External Affairs Minister in 2014.

The important cultural form of bilateral relations is also represented by paintings. They carry forward the tradition of pluralism through symbols, tokens, and mementos. During their informal summit, PM Modi presented to President Xi Jinping specially-made prints from paintings by Xu Beihong. These paintings featured a horse and sparrows sitting on the grass. These paintings were created by Beihong while he was at Visva Bharati University. It was founded in 1926 by Rabindranath Tagore.

Sustainability and Cultural Exchanges

Handlooms can be a viable way to earn a living and are environmentally friendly.

Handloom employment is second in rural India and employs 4.33 million people. India is home to approximately 95% of the world's handwoven fabrics (PIB, 2017, We are proud of India's handlooms and textiles. However, we must address issues such as price, market linkages, pricing, and raw materials for labor-intensive activities like spinning, weaving, and embroidery.

Governments have created programs and schemes to help rural women, weavers, and artisans. Steps in the right direction are needed to implement the Handlooms (Reservation Of Articles For Production) Act, 1985. The Handloom Census, Geographical Indication, and recent Twitter campaigns like #iwearhandloom. Initiatives in e-commerce such as e-dhaga, capacity-building programs, and overall revival handlooms and the Khadi Gramodyog industry are also required. To benefit artisans, the "solar Charkha" scheme was also launched.

Indian textiles must be included in contemporary wear so that the younger generation can understand and support these fabrics. This goal may not be difficult given the number of brands involved in the revival and support of these weaves.

“The handloom weaving is in a dying condition. Everyone admits that whatever may be the future of the mill industry, the handlooms ought not to be allowed to perish” - Mahatma Gandhi

“I believe that where there is pure and active love for the poor there is God also. I see God in every thread that I draw on the spinning wheel.”- Mahatma Gandhi

“In the tapestry of life, we’re all connected. Each one of us is a gift to those around us helping each other be who we are, weaving a perfect picture together.” - Anita Moorjani

“We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone… and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weaving of individual threads from one to another that creates something.” - Sandra Day O’Connor

“Think of all your experiences as a huge tapestry that can be laid out in whatever pattern you wish. Each day you add a new thread to the weaving. Do you craft a curtain to hide behind, or do you fashion a magic carpet that will take you to unequaled heights?” - Tony Robbins

“With her tiny hands knowing these colors are something epic, she coerces the flag with Khaadi(handloom) and she waves lofty for all.” -Tazeen Sadiya

Where can I get the best handloom products in India?

Here, at Truly Tribal we have a wide range of varieties in Indian Art and handicraft. We are a social enterprise working with more than 150+ tribal and folk artisans across India in more than 25+ traditional Indian art forms, with award-winning traditional artisans leading our teams.  Our artisan team is spread across more than half of the Indian states.

On the occasion of National Handloom Day, we have launched new wooden-block Tlight products and a new Madhubani Dupatta collection.


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