Saturday, 29 July 2017

Photoblog- Visit to Pochampally Park

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Photoblog- Visit to Textile Clusters of Indore, Dhar and Maheshwar

Route to Bagh is breathtaking. In the background are seen the windmills. The road is newly laid and extremely well built.

These are a common site in Bagh. The printing is done with natural colors and ingredients like myrobalan. The red is developed with Alum by boiling in Alizarin ( an ingredient of Alum). It is also known as alizarin printing. It is said that the minerals dissolved in the Bagh river provide that extremely rich red color to the fabric. The printing is done on cotton, chanderi, Maheshwari, Modal Tussar and Mulberry.

Printing is done with hand. All the three blocks gad, reikh and datta ( daat ) are used.

There are lots of words of wisdom you will find on the local shops, the above notice says "loan is a magic, we give you and you will get vanished....." so true sometimes !!!!

Visit to Maheshwar is inspiring. The township is reverberating with the sweet sounds of handlooms. A neat and clean place with an all pervasive presence of Ahilyabai Holkar dynasty, which is reflected in their philanthropic institutions.

Maheshwari is a fabric in silk and cotton. The difference from Chanderi, as we are told is in the count of weft and twist constructions of warp. In chanderi twisted yarn is used in the warp. Also in chanderi 100s count is used whereas in Maheshwari 80s count is used. But the real difference is in the woven border of chanderi, the inspiration from which is taken from the carvings of the Ahilyabai fort.

The picture above indicates the dobby used to create the famous Maheshwari Border.

So the iron frames are used to hold the handloom together. Look at the way the warp are arranged.

Look at the way the indigenous drop box motion is provided on the loom to change the shuttle.

Here we can see that gears are finding their way in to handlooms to make the process of weaving faster and painless.

It was enlightening to address a group of weavers. A great job is done there by the Handloom School. It was amazing to see how this next generation of weavers is evolved to take on this e-commerce revolution.

Watching Narmada at the sunset was a treat

It was great to see ambar Charkha spinning Khadi at Womens Weaves

Back in Indore, chance to see the Indigo Alizarin Process of Tarapur Cluster

Chance to Meet Sattar Bhai, doing Dabu with hand block printing

This is not all, in the next blog will write about my learning on the various borders in Maheshwar.

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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Two Million Page Views...and counting !! Thank you Readers !!!

I thank all my viewers for helping the blog reach this magical figure. Your constant encouragement, feedback and suggestions help me keep on writing !! Thanks a lot !!!

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Why Handlooms are Dying in India- An Economic Argument

This is an adaptation to the answer to the post submitted on facebook by a reader:

Some people say that handlooms in India are dying and the reason is the emergence of powerloom and MNREGA. I agree with them that there is an imminent death of the handloom sector, but the reasons are different than what they site. Powerlooms and MNREGA are just alternatives they have for the handloom. The reasons are purely economic. One, switching of weavers from handloom to powerloom is just analogous to our switching to smart phone from your old phone for the simple reason that it is more efficient and productive. So a weaver, when he finds that the product of a powerloom is not so much different or even better from the point of view of the returns for his family, he will switch to alternatives like any rational human being. Running a powerloom is not as as simple that one relegate the task to some less skilled person. A break in powerloom whether warp or weft can ruin a whole product for the simple reasons that by the time it is noticed and the machine is stopped, a lot of picks have already gone by resulting in a patta or chira as the case may be- of course I am talking about the primitive powerlooms prevalent in our country without the warp or weft stop motions.

They also say that to protect the handlooms they are offering weavers twice the usual wages. However, their offering of double or even triple wages help a little, as their baseline wages are so small in relation to the effort involved that doubling or tripling may not help much.

Khadi sector is already diluted as the “amber charka” is like a mini ring frame taking its inputs from the mill product- roving. Only difference is that it has more defects and it is S-twisted. Genuine Charkhas produce so little that it is only used on the national days.

I feel it is our greed- the high profile elite consumers- that we let the weavers stick to the handloom when they have much better alternatives including powerloom. Let us not bind them into their age old professions for our greed by throwing them with yarn subsidies and increments in wages which are abysmally low as compared to their efforts. And they are realising that which is the effect you are witnessing across all the clusters. We need to remember that while business is talking numbers, they are also understanding numbers and taking actions which are good for their survival. Lets not make them the slaves of the handloom in th name of protecting the handlooms. 

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