Reviving lost glory of handwoven fabrics

Reviving handwoven fabrics has become a task, especially with people having adapted to power-loom fashion over handloom.
pics: vinay madpu
pics: vinay madpu

HYDERABAD: Reviving handwoven fabrics has become a task, especially with people having adapted to power-loom fashion over handloom. While some of us are doing our best to revive the handloom sector in whatever we way can, Ramesh Ramanadham, director of RS Krafts, from the city, has gone above and beyond to achieve the same. He was recently felicitated by the government of Telangana on the occasion of National Handloom Day for his work in the handloom sector.

Ramesh laments that it’s already too late to revive some fabrics. “Earlier, we had almost 100 different kinds of hand weaving and we have lost most of them today. Now, even an expert can only name about 30 to 40 of them — we lost almost 60 per cent of our treasured weaves. Handlooms are a special set of fabrics and can’t be compared to power loom but the point is that we handloom is losing ground to a great extent in competition,” he says adding that handlooms should stick to their USP and ideology.

Ramesh has been able to revive some fabrics in references to Mohenjodaro time. “Traditional native cottons are another fabric we’re working on. Sadly, people no longer look at India for cotton the way they used to, especially naturally coloured cotton. We lost those seeds now, forever. But thankfully, certain pockets still have a few native cottons left. Up North, we have corsets cotton that has good absorbent strength. In certain regions, due to geographical and environmental changes, these cottons cannot be cultivated. We had the finest cotton which could be put in a matchbox and if we work hard enough, we can reestablish something close to it,” he shares.

Talking about the fabrics that he has been collecting since a long time now, he says, “I have a very limited number of fabrics and I am on the job of collecting them. The reason is that two years from now, which is in 2024, we are planning to organise a show where people will contribute a piece of handloom fabric to recreate a story to tell. We’re asking people who are interested to approach us with their fabrics.”
Ramesh can go on and on about his love and knowledge about handloom.

“As and when these handlooms were made, the weavers had various rituals that they took part in all of them backed by science. That’s the legacy behind these handloom. But today, even if 10 per cent of our population shifts their clothing preferences to handloom, we will not be in a position to meet that demand that’s how much of an unfortunate situation we are in, right now. Year after year, the number of weavers are going down and during the pandemic, most of them moved to a different profession,” he rues.

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The New Indian Express