India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day yesterday with full spirit as country’s highest civilian awards – Padma Awards – were also announced.
Two well-known personalities from textile industry were also conferred with Padma Shri awards.
The first recipient was the 88-year-old designer Hanjabam Radhe Devi from Manipur, who is a Potloi Setpi (traditional bridalwear designer).
Notably, the Potloi comprises a stiff cylindrical skirt, a blouse, a woven belt around the waist and a delicate muslin shawl. So far, she has created more than 1,000 dresses (bridalwear).
She also makes costumes for the Khamba-Thoibi dance, which is based on a popular Manipuri legend.
Apart from all this creative work, she has also created awareness on issues like drug addiction and women’s employment in the state.
The other recipient was the Santipur Nadia (West Bengal)-based Biren Kumar Basak, who, with an annual turnover of around Rs. 50 crore, is working with around 5,000 artisans, out of which around 2,000 are women.
Biren (66), who was forced to leave school at an early age, started working as a weaver at the age of 13 and used to earn Rs. 2.5 per day. He also used to sell sarees going door-to-door in the 1970s in Kolkata.
Today, his wide repertoire of clients includes West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, cricketer Sourav Ganguly, noted classical musician Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and famous singers Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar, amongst others.
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