Our identity lies in the womb of our rich, golden heritage. Textiles, jewellery, food, crafts, sports and oral traditions are all weaved into the golden tapestry of our culture – the ‘Indian’ culture.
Grandmother’s special aam ka achar with its irresistible aroma; mom’s besan ke ladoos made with ingredients in unmeasured palm moulds that taste heavenly, the traditional style of adorning the saree by mother in law with sequined clutches and a bun held by an ornamented comb.
Traditions, especially when passed from one generation to the other, become very special for us.
The tradition of handloom weaving in India goes back to ancient times. It comprises of the largest cottage industry of the country. Millions of looms across the country are engaged in weaving cotton, silk and other natural fibers. There is hardly a village where weavers do not exist, each weaving out the traditional beauty of India’s own precious heritage.
The NorthEastern region of India in general and the state of Assam in particular has a rich tradition of handloom weaving descending down from generation to generation. The inter-mingling of various ethnic stocks in Assam, both tribal and non-tribal has formed a synthesized culture in the state. These ethnic groups having diverse socio-cutural background have contributed immensely towards the glory of textile tradition of Assam as a whole.
Popular for the handloom culture, Assam is the home to Eri silk – a vegan silk also known as Ahimsa Silk because of its non-violent practice of extracting silk and Muga Silk – the golden silk which outlives its owner and is exclusive to the state. The traditional hand woven fabrics woven out of Silk are widely known for their beauty and simplicity.
This socio-cultural heritage of India is however starting to fade away in today’s modern and fast space. The gratification of urgent and easily available resources are slowly killing the handloom industry. No doubt, it is a slow process but it is a beautiful one. Each handloom product speaks of hundreds of stories behind the creation of it. The imperfections, the rough finishing and the delicacies make it all the more personal and special. We owe to sustain the treasure of these handloom art for our upcoming generations.
On this National Handloom Day, let’s pledge to revive India’s dying handloom arts and crafts and sustain and glorify the existing ones.
Lets celebrate “Handmade with love”.
By Benaaz Anam