On August 07, 2016, India celebrated its 2nd National Handloom Day. The objective of this day is to generate awareness about the importance of handloom industry and its contribution to the socioeconomic development of the country in general and to promote handlooms, increase income of weavers and enhance their pride in particular. The date August 7 has been chosen due to its special significance in India’s freedom struggle. It was on this day in 1905 that the Swadeshi Movement was formally launched, at a massive meeting in the Calcutta Town hall. The movement involved revival of domestic products and production processes. The Government of India has thus declared August 7 as National Handloom Day every year, in memory of this.
On the occasion of ‘National Handloom Day’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged the nation to give an impetus to the handloom sector and use more of the product in daily lives. “On #NationalHandloomDay, let us affirm that we will give an impetus to the handloom sector & use more handloom products in our daily lives,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
The Prime Minister also conferred the Sant Kabir awards and National awards for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 to handloom personalities.
Prime Minister Modi has also posted a video on his Twitter handle of his speech on the handloom sector and Khadi. Here’s a link to the video –
The #Iwearhandloom campaign on Twitter was a huge success with celebrities across industries – such as Neha Dhupia and Vijender Singh, among others – having participated.
The new minister of textiles, Smriti Irani gave it a further fillip by supporting this cause. Irani took to social media in a blue sari with a red border stating, “Show your support for Indian weavers. Upload your photo with #IWearHandloom on Facebook or Twitter and tag atleast five friends to upload his/her photo wearing Handloom.” As expected, the results have been heartening with youngsters urging friends and family to pull out special handloom ensembles from their closets and flaunt them with pride.
Many globally renowned designers in south India, like Gaurang Shah, Vivek Karunakaran and Shravan Kumar Ramaswamy whose clients include a long list of Indian celebs, have been consistently working with weavers and handlooms. Applauding the creation of a National Handloom Day to throw the limelight on a dying craft, Hyderbad-based designer and textile revivalist Gaurang Shah says, “It’s motivational and the most satisfying moment for a designer like me as the Prime Minister dedicates this day for handlooms. It will go a long way in handlooms marketability not only in India but also around the world. Above all, it is a moment of celebration for designers, the handloom workers, as well as weavers who spent tireless hours in their looms to create these beautiful fabrics.”
Designer Shravan Kumar
Handloom weavers in mechanised world neither get adequate facilities nor proper recognition. Promising textile-park and other facilities, the state government called back many local weavers who had settled in Surat to Telangana.
About 150 families returned to Ellanda on the assurance of Kadiam Srihari and local MLA, Aroori Ramesh. Pitta Ramulu of Kothawada in Warangal decided to change the scenario and worked hard to promote the work of his community. His true grit got him national recognition as the union textile ministry overseeing handloom weavers, felicitated him with the Sant Kabir Award for the year 2015.
The 56-year-old received the award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 7, national handloom day. This is the first time in a 100 years of Warangal handloom industry that a weaver has got national recognition. Mr. Ramulu worked on a dhurrie taking inspiration from a painting from a London museum depicting a hunting scene from the Mughal era.
The observance of National Handloom Day and honouring of handloom weavers will not only provide an impetus to India’s handloom industry but would also serve to promote handloom as a genuine international product of good quality.
Handloom weaving provides direct and indirect employment to more than 43 lakh weavers and allied workers. The sector is responsible for nearly 15% of cloth production in the country and also contributes to export earnings. Around 95% of the world’s hand woven fabric comes from India.