To keep the textile heritage alive and create awareness of Handloom fabrics, Shri Narendra Modi Honorable Prime Minister of India marked 7th of August as the ‘National Handloom Day’. This year being the 6th National Handloom day and amidst the Pandemic, virtual meets and webinar were organised to thank the weavers, artisans for keeping Handloom industry running. One such virtual meet was organized by Hetushma Handloom Ms. Shweta Haria in collaboration with The Textile Institute “Textiles” Special Interest Group (TISIG) by Mr. Timir Roy and Dr. Vishaka Karnad.

The event witnessed participation from Weavers, Stalwarts, Entrepreneurs, young professionals and students with the Textile background to celebrate the 6th National Handloom day. This meet was held on Zoom, 200+ registrations were received for the event, among them were Weavers, Professors, Entrepreneur, aspiring students, Consumers wearing Handloom. The meet was planned for one and a half hour wherein a few weavers were given an opportunity to talk about their weaving and the current situation; followed by a panel discussion on various topics under the umbrella of Traditional Textile and Handlooms. The event started with recitation of the ‘National Anthem’ and then four weavers openly shared their knowledge with the audience.

The Bagru printer and weaver hailing from a small village, 30 kms away from Jaipur, Rajasthan joined us at the meet. They were engaged in Dabu printing, hand block printing sari suits and dupattas. They depicted the entire procedure of block printing conducted in Bagru with the help of a video.

Mr. Sanjit Mondal from Boyon Textile, West Bengal joined us to share about weaving using natural fibres and vegetable dyes. He is a student of Vishvabharati University in West Bengal, pursuing last year B. Design and co-ordinating with weavers to produce handmade garments.

Mr. Nilesh Priyadarshi Founder of Kaarigar Clinic shared the prototype of Pabiben and Rajiben. Kaarigar clinic is a rural business clinic, whose motto is to develop micro entrepreneurs from Kaarigar community to create sustainable livelihood and strengthen their status in the society as well as improve their quality of life.

Mr. Aman Ansari from Tana Bana Handloom who joined from Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh for the event. He emphasized on the current situation of weavers and mentioned about the weaving of Maheshwari saris.

After the weavers sharing about themselves and their business, stalwarts from the iextile industry shared their views during this virtual meet.

Ms. Bhavini Parikh, recently appointed as the State President Maharashtra Skill Development Council for Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry; spoke about her Brand ‘BunkoJunko’ and how they upcycle fabric waste.

Ms. Geeta Castellino, who is the Founder Member of Kala Ghoda Art Festival was one amongst the panellists. She spoke about how the organization is supporting weavers, artisans by training them and providing an opportunity to exhibit their art and crafts.

Dr. Vaibbhavi Pruthviraj Ranaavade, a Professor and Entrepreneur runs the Brand ‘VaibbhaviP’ and wears handloom each and every day being an ardent follower of handloom textiles. She highlighted the unique beauty of handloom and handcrafted textiles which inherently comes from the slubs and the irregularities in the weaving giving the exclusive texture to fabrics.

Ms. Tejashree Tanaji Gaikwad, a young dynamic speaker serving multiple roles is an inspiration to many. She shared about her brand ‘Style se’ and gave tips to set-up a brand. She keenly told the viewers about the Marathi touch added to her brand name and inspired others to keep the cultural touch and feel even while merging it with the modern concepts.

Dr. Ritu Madan, another panellist at the event spoke about and elaborated features of traditional Indian textiles and hand-woven craft of different Indian states emphasizing their importance in our lives. She is a Doctorate in Textile and Fashion and has taught at the College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketan for more than 19 years.

Dr. Vishaka Karnad, Hon. Sect of TISIG spoke about what the organization does and shared remarkable lines by Kabir and phrases from the Marathi Literature on the Handloom and Textile sector. She also mentioned that ‘India is a land with treasures of textiles’ and how we can integrate this in the modern-day scenario. She shared few instances over her 20 years of teaching and research experience at College of Home Science Nirmala Niketan Department of Textile and Fashion Technology and projected a spiritual angle to weaving on handlooms.

Mr. Keshav Sharma who is the Founder of DESCATuk also joined in and he shared the procedure from fibre to fabric and how the organization supports the families weaving in Uttarakhand.

Dr. Vijay Gotmare graced the meet with his presence, he is the Ex- Professor and HOD of VJTI college and an honorary member of various bodies and councils. He shared about sustainable textile with the audience and shared his experience in the handloom sector, having connection with Institute of Chemical Technology and VJTI.

Mr. Khushal Haria, the proprietor of Hetushma Handloom shared his experience of 48 years working in the textile sector and establishing the Brand Hetushma Handloom, that deals with pure silk fabrics and stoles-scarfs.

At the end, speakers and audience shared their views about handloom and Ms. Gulnaaz Engineer Assistant Professor at Human Development Department of College of Home shared that textiles have been a significant part of her life since her childhood. She is from non-textile background, however being a Home Scientist, she is confident of her skills with stitching, sewing and she enjoys engaging in it during her free time. The students and speakers expressed mutual interest for having more sessions like this in future. The session went on for about 2.5 hours and the audience was there till the end in spite of some technical issues. The young graduates and pass-outs require guidance on the career opportunities and future pathways.

In the future we intend having series of sessions with select speakers on a focused topics and shorter duration. The participants were very appreciative of the programme. They were issued e-certificate of participation post the virtual meet. All those who attended this virtual meet were also gifted with vouchers worth Rs. 200 valid until December, 2020.

The overall virtual experience was enriching and fulfilling creating a forum for being vocal in the local hoping to go global.

Report By:

VISHAKA ASHISH KARNAD (M.Sc. Ph.D. CTEXT FTI)

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, TEXTILE AND FASHION TECHNOLOGY

COLLEGE OF HOME SCIENCE, NIRMALA NIKETAN

(AFFILIATED TO UNIVERSITY OF MUMBAI, NAAC ACCREDITED “A” GRADE)

[email protected]