“True Swadeshi is that  alone
  in which all the processes through
which cotton has to pass are carried
out in the same village or town.”
M.K.Gandhi
national handloom day the prestige of the swadeshi sentiment

Every year, August 7 in India is celebrated as the National Handloom Day to commemorate the onset of the famous Swadeshi Movement, the first common man belligerence against the colonial rule and particularly, the partition of the Bengal Presidency, ordered by Lord Curzon in the year 1905.

Delving into facts from the past, this Swadeshi Movement, translating to ‘Make in India Movement’ was a pre-Gandhian movement chiefly orchestrated by revered Aurobindo Ghosh, Shri Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Shri Lala Lajpat Rai, Shri Bipin Chandra Pal, Shri V.O.Chidambaram Pillai, and Shri Babu Genu. This movement kindled a fire against forcible dumping of the relatively cheap foreign goods, the product of industrialization in the Indian markets following which the Indian weavers lost their stand, both in the market and in their sustenance.
This was one of the most indelible blows to the invaluable Indian tradition and also intensified poverty amidst the booming Indian population. So, on August 7 1905, a ‘Boycott Resolution’ was passed in the Calcutta City Hall to boycott buying of foreign goods, especially Manchester cloth and Liverpool salt. From students to oldsters and even many women, participated in picketing and vandalising shops that sold foreign goods, burnt the goods in public bonfires and also spread the essence of ‘Atmashakti’ or, ‘the power of the self’. This was also followed by an increase in local entrepreneurial workshops to produce textiles, soap, matchsticks, tanneries, banks, etc.
More than a hundred years later today, crusades like the ‘Make in India‘ movement, the ‘Digital India‘ movement, the ‘Start-up India‘ movements have reinstated the pride of self-reliance and patriotism. Apart from these are the increasing focus on local industries and employment of women in indigenous businesses.
One of the most interminable and laudable industries in India since ancient times is the handloom industry with great historic, sentimental, geographical significance and will have for many more years to come. The handloom and handicraft industry has deeply vested its salience as a part of the soul of Bharat Mata nurturing the lives of many and emphasising the soul-stirring hues and patterns of the very diverse subcontinent.
Let this National Handloom Day 2020, be an opportunity to know about and appreciate the beauty of the vast handloom industry in India and feel proud of the diligent hands that have, are and will keep this industry flourishing.
Be it dazzling sarees or draperies, handy kerchiefs or comfortable carpets, handloom has it all.
Amongst the Carpets and Quilts, we have,
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1. Bhavani Jammakalam:- These mats made of coarse cotton fibres on a pit looms have a world recognition and are woven to this day by independent weavers in Bhavani of the Erode district of Tamil Nadu. Characterised by coloured bands, they are a feature in Carnatic music Katcheris or concerts, come handy when writers and poets need to relax and think and also when the entire family has to be accommodated comfortably for a nice family occasion also when someone needs a nice long afternoon siesta.
2. Navalgund Durries:- Made in the gymkhanas of Navalgund town of Karnataka, these durries(carpet) are a waning art with its legacy being passed down from generations, with women forming a major part of the production. It is made with unbleached cotton yarn and another cotton standard decorated with tassels in the corners. These durries have stupefying geometrical designs with village scenes, birds and animals weaved into them by expert hands and creative minds.
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3. Pattamadai Pai:- The silk mats from Pattamadai town of Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu are the perfect gifts for a memorable occasion like weddings with the names of the groom and bride woven into the mats. These mats have a very complex yet fruitful procedure and are made with special kind of grass that grows there called the Korai or the Gorai grass. The usual colours used are black, red, yellow and green.
4. Solapur Chaddar:- The bedspreads from Solapur, Maharashtra that initiated during the Peshwa reign are an epitome for its grittiness and the warmth that it gives. The making process involves the entire weaver household and is a sure companion on journeys and especially the pilgrimage tours in Maharashtra.
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5. The Kashmiri Rug:- The oriental rugs of warm thick material of shapes, colours and sizes. They have the colours of the gems and the rugs depict the culture and the tradition of hospitality, warmth and kindness of Kashmir. These are a soul of Kashmir introduced by the Mughals and a symbol of eliteness for the beholders of these beautiful and magical rugs giving a thrilling euphoria.
6. Mirzapur Handmade Dari:- This handmade carpet of twisted cotton yarn and jute twine to give a coarse feel and bright colours dyed into it is a must-have at homes. Made in Mirzapur region of Uttar Pradesh, these rugs now come not only with traditional designs, but now also with modern renderings and art.
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7. Handmade Carpets of Bhadohi:- From India’s largest carpet making region, a variety of intricately designed handmade carpets that bedeck homes and fill the plates of the many weavers. These carpets or Kaaleen are a part of many drawing rooms holding the memories of evening chai and family memories.
From the sarees section, we have many to know about and awe, here naming a few of them:-
1. The Kanjeevaram Silk Saree:- Weaved with bright and contrasting colours of mulberry silk ending in magical themed borders of zari often depicting temples, dancers, musical instruments amongst others. Going hand in hand with bedazzling gold jewellery, Kanjivaram sarees making anyone look no less than a goddess from heaven.
2. Mysore Silk Sarees:- The regal silks of Mysuru, Karnataka, gives an aristocratic feeling to drape over with lavish gold and silver zari border work. Made of almost 45% of the mulberry silks produced in Karnataka, the Mysore Silk handloom industry is one of the largest in the world with its products exported internationally.
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3. Pochampally Ikat:- Coming from the 80-village weaving region of Pochampally, the silk-cotton sarees that have the smart geometric printing designs of the Ikat style. Pochampally also has the tag of ‘UNESCO tentative list of iconic saree weaving clusters in India’. Even the silky kerchiefs that come along with these simply complement to perfection.
4. Kotpad Handloom Fabrics:- These vegetable-dyed ethnic handloom fabric of the tribal group of the Kotpad village in Odisha. These fabrics are made with Tussar silk, Cotton yarn and Aul tree root are the motifs used are of everyday items like the bull, conch, axes, crabs, etc.
5. Chanderi Sarees:- Made in the Chanderi region of Madhya Pradesh, these sarees are made of silk, silk cotton or cotton and have beautiful brocade works of gold or silver decked with designs of peacocks, florals and geometrical designs. These sarees reached a peak of their popularity during the Mughal Reign.
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6. Patan Patola of Gujarat:- It is a centuries-old double weaving method that requires complex calculations and expressive creativity and uses the tie-and-dye method on the weft and warp.
7. Kuthampully Handlooms:- Made with the Kasuvu Handloom weaving method, the Kuthampully sarees, Mundus(dhoties) and kerchiefs are a favourite in God’s Own Country. They are made traditionally by around 600 brahmin weaving families of the village.
Though only a few of the baroque activities of the vast and vibrant Indian Weaving industry have been mentioned here, it is a fact that handloom and handicraft truly exhilarate the Indian society from the grass-root level. It establishes the dignity of labour and breathes life and colour to all aspects of the textile industry. Traditional textiles also give a feeling of affinity to the nation and the humble home it comes from. With the need for India to be vocal for local, these traditional textiles need to be uplifted and given the importance they deserve. A true patriotic commitment for this National Handloom Day.

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