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National loom The day, observed annually on August 7, is the celebration of Indian hand-spun and hand-woven wonder weaving by artisans, bunkars, weavers and dastkaris across the country. The day commemorates the Swadeshi movement which began in 1905 and was first observed in 2015, marking the centenary of the Swadeshi movement Party.

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The philosophy of this day is centered on the promotion of loomsarts and crafts while empowering poor rural and urban poor communities, self-help groups (SHGs), micro-enterprises and home-based entrepreneurs typically excluded from the formal market Support systems. Such an initiative to promote India’s handloom and handicrafts sector gives new impetus to the Indian government’s “Atma Nirbharta” and “Vocal for Local” campaigns, in addition to strengthening urban, rural livelihoods and foresters.

Maintaining the legacy

Every year, exhibitions, fairs and haat-bazaars are organized to celebrate the day of the loom, supported by government departments, ministries, other government offices, private entities, civil society and individuals. Celebrities, bureaucrats and politicians wear the best handmade clothes, sarees, traditional outfits and clothes made from Khadi, gamchas and dhotis, and to contribute to the living tradition of Indian looms.

Arts and crafts and hand weaving also reinforce our approach to soft power and diplomacy. Offering Indian handicrafts and looms through paintings, sarees, artefacts or Khadi diplomacy revives the living heritage of Indian arts and crafts on the global map.

For example, in the recent past, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoted a range of crafts globally through gentle diplomacy – a silver Meenakari bird figure from Varanasi, Pashmina, Sanjhi art, Dokra and brass metal crafts, Gond art, Pattachitra paintings, Rogan art – through gifts to luminaries foreign. Rogan painting is, in fact, no longer widely practiced in Gujarat, and such a gesture emphasizes the revival of the art form.

This space covered such magnificence and diversity of Indian looms.

Saris, shawls, cotton rugs, silks, bamboo silks and textiles – India’s handloom and handicraft sector puts on a show for cherish. From Kantha, Kanchivaram, Banarasi brocade, Pashmina, Naga shawls, Chamba Rumal, Muga silk, Ikkat, Sambhalpuri, Patola, Kasavu and Karvath Kathi, to name a few – Indian looms and textiles are colorful , vibrant and support our rich Capital culture.

Bamboo artifacts made by SHG women in Gorakhpur, UP. (Photo credit: Shri Vikas Yadav, DFO, Gorakhpur Uttar Pradesh)

At the forefront of this sector are the SHGs, micro-entrepreneurs, mainly artisans and women. There are over 7 million SHGs in India supported by National Rural Livelihoods Mission and Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) – programs of the government of India who have tirelessly provided gainful employment and income support to handicrafts, hand weaving and other micro-sectors engaged in the manufacture of indigenous and local products. Moreover, the handicrafts and looms sector is the second largest employer in rural India after agriculture. According to the latest loom census (2019-2020), there are nearly 31.44 lakh loom households in the country.

In addition to their tradition, women’s SHGs and the craft and loom industry have adapted to market needs, especially during the pandemic, and have since diversified. Last year, this space examined how SHGs and artisans made masks and other medical necessities using their impromptu agility and creativity.

SHG ‘didis’ and ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign

This year, Loom Celebration Week coincides with the Governments ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, an initiative under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav encouraging people to raise flags in their homes and contribute to nation building in the 75th year of independence. This is done to honor Pingali Venkayya, the designer of the Indian National Flag, whose birthday falls on August 2.

Self-help groups led by women have been formed and engaged in the making of national and tricolor flags in accordance with the guidelines specified in the National Flag Coded. For example, Tripura Urban Livelihoods Mission was involved with SHG “didis” to make the flags. Women of ‘Apsara’ SHG in Ambassa and Kamalpur Nagar Panchayat in Tripura made these and other flags. These are available from SHG stalls, post offices and government offices. In Assam, the SHGs set up a stall in front of the State Secretariat for people to buy the flags.

Rongjali, an SHG from Hogmabil village in Kokrajhar district, Assam, with fourteen members worked on weaving Eri handloom products, sarees and traditional clothing. finery. SHG members Jamuna Brahma, Sarala Bala Boro, Karisori Brahma and Harini Basumatary are engaged in making flags in the district for Har Ghar Tiranga campaign. With the support of the Assam State Rural Livelihood Mission (ASRLM), these initiatives enable women economically through various income opportunities. Women earn about INR 7,000 per month.

national loom day A woman from Kokrajhar district at the loom. (Photo credit: Assam State Rural Livelihoods Mission)

Mini Bala Bargayary, Development Fellow from Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), says: “Women engaged in Kokrajhar, as well as in other districts of BTR, for example, are skilled in handloom and other activities like silk raising. Their main challenge is the lack of visibility, accessibility and exposure in the market. The government is working tirelessly to addressing these shortcomings.

national loom day Uniquely woven bamboo rakhis. (Photo credit: Shri Vikas Yadav, DFO, Gorakhpur Uttar Pradesh)

It is essential to note the importance of sewing and sewing as essential skills that empower women and strengthen the looms sector. Sewing machines and loom infrastructure have made them self-sufficient, providing alternative income. Similarly, Aanchal Sankul Sanghathan, a women-led SHG in Padumtara village of Rajnandgaon district, Chhattisgarh also made the flags.

Fabric fiber: bamboo rakhis

A unique initiative to strengthen Arts and craftsand the handicraft industry hires women to weave bamboo or eco-friendly rakhis for Rakshabandhan, a few days after Loom Day. Bamboo craftsmanship and fiber-based bristles have gained supremacy in production, consumptionand talks about sustainability and are very popular.

national loom day Women engaged in making bamboo rakhis (Photo credit: Shri Vikas Yadav, DFO, Gorakhpur Uttar Pradesh)

Self-help groups and women-led artisans in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and other states are unique and engaged in making rakhis with cotton and bamboo fibers. These rakhis are durable and eco-friendly. For example, the rakhi initiative in Lakshmipur village of Gorakhpur district in Uttar Pradesh is an instant hit among women and enables them to livelihood further away. Sri. Vikas Yadav, District Forest Officer, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, says, “Bamboo rakhi initiative empowers women and SHGs economically and empowers them while encouraging them to unleash their creative potential. Rakhis worth INR 1 lakh are to be produced under this company.

national loom day Bamboo Rakhis. (Photo credit: Shri Vikas Yadav, DFO, Gorakhpur Uttar Pradesh)

Similarly, the Odisha Rural Development Marketing Society (ORMAS) has also launched a unique ecological initiative of “rakhi seed”. Here, women producing groups use cane, bamboo, palm leaf, golden grass, silk, wool and jute to weave rakhis – with a seed from an indigenous tree placed above each rakhi.

In Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, a program called “Kaara se Ujiyara” trains women detained to make rakhis and the tricolor flag. Similarly, Tripura Urban Livelihoods Mission also trains women to make crochet rakhis.

Go forward

Celebrate Loom Day and empower women’s groups and entrepreneurs are essential to strengthen the crafts sector. The Telangana government is about to announce a life insurance scheme for hand and machine weavers, benefiting around 80,000 people. Strengthening urban SHGs is a welcome step under programs such as the National Urban Livelihoods Assignment. The pandemic has highlighted the invisibility of the urban poor and the plight faced by poor communities living in cities. SHG-based entrepreneurial activities such as the production of masks, disinfectants, clothes and flags this year in urban areas are important steps towards the poverty relief.

In general, capacity building support programs, digital literacy skills, financial literacy and infrastructural support are needed to strengthen the vast Human capital of Indian SHGs, which will strengthen agricultural, handicraft and handicraft enterprises.

national loom day Female SHG members make national flags for Har Ghar Tiranga campaign. (Photo credit: Assam State Rural Livelihoods Mission)

Rajeev Kumar Tripathi, Team Leader at Transform Rural India Foundation – who previously worked as a Project Manager at Rurban Mission in Murmundu band of Rajnandgaon District, Chhattisgarh — says, “Investing in capacity building measures is the precursor to empowering SHG women. Steps such as Hand Loom Distribution, Frame Loom Distribution, and Skill Development will holistically strengthen marginalized communities”.

(With contributions from: DAY-NULM and Tripura Urban Livelihoods Mission social media platforms; Shri. Vikas Yadav, District Forest Officer, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh; Rahul Dixit, Rurban Mission, Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh; Rajeev Kumar Tripathi, Transform Rural India Foundation, Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh; and Mini Bala Bargayary, Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) Development Fellow, Kokrajhar, Assam)