Someone once had an argument with me on why in this era of technology we are sticking to handloom. It is laborious and time taking. That day i was convinced that khaadi and handloom will eventually disappear. Why people in the villages should continue doing laborious jobs while urbanites in India go to any extent to make their life luxurious.
Yesterday was a national handloom day. Lots of people posted their pictures with #IWearHandloom tag on fb while several others were left to wondering what this day is all about and why it is celebrated. Via this post we wish to share with our friends on why we believe handloom will never die and why it is so special.
What is handloom anyway? Handloom is a fabric that is woven on a loom that uses mechanical energy of the weaver rather than electric energy. May be we should define khaadi too. It is a handloom fabric made from yarn/thread that is hand spun from cotton balls.
Why is handloom special?
Handloom is a beautiful fabric and special as no 2 fabric can be alike. Of Course the output depends on the skill set of the weaver but even if we make two weavers with similar skills weave the same fabric it will be different in one way or the other. Each fabric is a reflection of the weaver’s moods, thoughts, likings and passion eg. when weaver is angry the fabric would be little tight while it would be lose when he is sad. Thus each piece is unique in itself.
Just like paintings and photographs, each woven sari is a master piece. Saying that handloom must perish for its time consuming and laborious compared to powerloom is like saying painting, photography, clay modelling will go obsolete because of 3d printers and graphic designs.
We believe each handwoven fabric leaves its effect on weaver, wearer on our nation and the world. Lets look into each aspect.
How is weaver affected?
Weaving is an great combination of creativity, focus, patience and concentration. In olden days the weavers use to change the designs and patterns on the go i.e. while weaving. This needs clarity of thought. Though after the introduction of jacquard technique, weaving has become simpler and multiple fabrics with same details could be produced but it is still a very complex process. Weaving, thus, is much beyond making something and selling it.
How the wearer is affected?
"What one wears is our emotions and thoughts" a passionate weaver once told us. He would sing while weaving, littering each fabric with his lyrics. Isn’t this a beautiful thought. The handloom fabrics have special warmth as the weaver has made it with lots of hope and love. Next time you buy a handloom not just wear it but feel it.
How it affects our nation?
Handloom employs 43 lakh people* (http://handlooms.nic.in/writereaddata/2486.pdf). Its the second biggest income generating source in India. What would happen to our economy if so many people would become jobless. Rather than empowering them with new skills why not harness their existing skills, skills that is so unique and indigenous to India. This way we keep people employed, let them do what they are good at and would love to do and turn the society to a happier place.
How it affects our world?
Today world is facing constant challenge of generating more power to fulfil ever increasing needs for energy. This has lead to emission of excessive green house gases which is causing irreversible impact on our environment. In this oil guzzling race, handloom is a clear winner as all a handloom needs is mechanical power of the weaver to weave the fabric. People who wear handloom chooses a better environment for them and the generations to come.
So next time, you chose handloom over powerloom feel the pride because you are not just making the weaver richer but also are contributing to a better environment, better future and a happier nation.