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Handicrafts and Handlooms: Soul of India

The handloom industry rolls its carpet back to the ancient times. The very first fragment of Indian handloom was excavated from the parts of Egypt. After that, finely woven and dyed cotton fabrics were found in Mohenjo Daro (Indus Valley Civilization). There were some more excavations that speak of the golden history of Indian handloom. In fact, traditional handloom style has been one of the oldest forms. Even, the Vedic literature also has mention of Indian weaving styles. Apart from this, few examples are also seen in Buddhist era scripts about the woolen carpets.

Handlooms have been known to India right from the historic ages. The use of fabrics, techniques created to make designer art pieces and expressing ethnicity through them has been an integral part of India’s base. Its power is such that Handloom industry constitutes around 14 percent of total preindustrial production and 30 percent of the total export business. Well, that’s not all; it is also the second largest industry in India with important segments, such as independent power looms, modern textile mills, handlooms and garments. This made the handlooms popular in foreign markets also and raised their demand.

And in return to this, the handloom industry became one of the most important factors for the country’s economic growth. It is well-known that every state of India has the gift of handloom to offer, which lends them their individuality. Even, the texture and style of fabrics has been fascinating foreigners and increasing their knowledge about India’s cultural heritage. In fact, our handloom industry acts as a bridge between cultural differences. What lends exclusivity to the handloom industry in India is its technology of getting out beauty from the most intricate designs of all and exemplifying richness of the country.

The land of India is bestowed with crafts, so many that you can keep counting. India has been endowed with a gift that is unique, and yet in abundance. Every state, and within it every little village, in India has its own creative interpretation of its indigenous resources-leading to the creation of a piece of craft that is technically not replaceable or replicable, and is representative of that region.

India is and has been on a road to modernisation and growth. It is bound to go global for it to be a successful and an influential economy.

It is imperative that the craftspeople get their due and move along with the nation and its growth curve. Craftspeople by their very nature are passionate and dedicated to their craft. They are taught to worship their craft, and they look at it as their livelihood.

Prior to imperialism and colonization, all the natural fabrics (silk, cotton and jute) were hand-woven. And Khadi was among the prevalent materials at that point of time. Later on, the mechanical system created ways for the faster completion of spinning and weaving. After the introduction of machinery, the technicalities were given due care and the finesse came in a better way. This also helped the weavers, embroiders and hand-printers to create new designs. At the time of British, the export business of cotton and silk also started. This enabled the Indians to showcase the talent of their expertise in other countries also.

The Handicrafts Sector plays a significant & important role in the country’s economy. It provides employment to a vast segment of craftpersons in rural & semi urban areas and generates substantial foreign exchange for the country, while preserving its cultural heritage. Handicrafts have great potential, as they hold the key for sustaining not only the existing set of millions of artisans spread over length and breadth of the country, but also for the increasingly large number of new entrants in the crafts activity. Presently, handicrafts contribute substantially to employment generation and exports.

The quality of the water in the rivers of Gujarat lends the vivid colours to its bandhini craft, and the beauty of these very colours adorn the women and men alike to effectively offset the arid desert surroundings. A fine example of a perfect balance and a perfect harmony among nature, its resources and its consumers.

From using hand spun machines to mechanical advances, the handloom industry has travelled a lot. With the help of mechanical looms and technology, the weavers and embroiders are able to manage tedious tasks with great efficiency. In order to boost this industry, Indian Government has also introduced various schemes for the benefit of weavers, farmers and fabric printers. On an overall basis, the handloom industry of India has a sense of unity in diversity that makes it capable of capturing hearts and senses.

Indian handloom created a special place for itself in India and abroad too. With so many varieties of handloom from different states, India has collected a precious wealth of innovation. After all, this has lead to the emergence of India as the most richly cultured country.

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