Knitting the dreams of Indian weavers; Celebrating National Handloom Day
The National Handloom Day is celebrated annually on 7th August to honor the handloom weavers in the country and also highlight India’s handloom industry.
The government is trying their best to uplift this community but I am sure there are many of us who don’t even know what a loom or handloom means.
If you are one of them then don’t worry because we can always learn here before giving the details of National Handloom day, I would like to give you a brief introduction to Looms, Handlooms, Yarn, and Weaving.
Must know terms regarding loom?
What is LOOM?
A loom is a device used for weaving fabric. A loom holds the warp threads under tension and facilitates the interweaving of the weft threads.
What is HANDLOOM?
A Handloom is a loom used for weaving fabric with hands.
What is YARN?
Yarn is commonly known as the ‘thread’. Hence, a yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers, that are spun with either hands or machines.
What is WEAVING?
Weaving is the interlacing of two sets of yarn — the warp (length) and the weft (width).
What are the different types of looms?
There are many different types of looms, to name a few:
The pit loom is a loom situated on the ground/floor with a pit having two peddles set in the pit for the weaver to operate. Pit loom weaving is considered to be better weaving as the fabric woven retains the character of the fiber and fabric due to the proximity of the loom to the ground.
Table looms are great for classroom use, workshops, sampling, and small projects. They are ideal for learning about four- and eight-shaft pattern weaving since the direct tie-up through hand levers allows for infinite experimentation.
The loom was made of rods and panels fastened at the right angles to construct a form similar to a box to make it more handy and manageable. This type of loom is being utilized even until now due to its economy and portability.
And these looms are mostly located at the weavers’ houses itself.
What are the benefits of Handlooms?
- Handloom is the largest employment generator after sectors such as agriculture in India. Almost 90 percent of the world’s handlooms come from India.
- This industry employs close to ten million artisans in India and is considered the second-largest income-generating activity after agriculture in rural India.
- This industry provides employment in rural as well as urban areas.
- Handloom is well suited to rural India where there are power problems as it does not depend on electricity. Power looms can’t give handwoven custom-made designs. Handlooms can.
- Handwoven cotton, compared to mill made cotton, is known for its breathability. This means that it allows for more air penetration which makes it cooler, smoother, and more absorbent.
- It also contributes to the export income of the country. Close to 5% of the global handwoven fabric is from India.
- Skills are transferred from one generation to another.
- The handloom sector is lauded for its uniqueness, ease of production, openness to innovations, adaptability for supplier’s requirements, and support for traditions.
- The sector contributes approximately 15 percent of the country’s clothes production.
- The handloom sector is praised for its ease of manufacture, openness to innovation, uniqueness, adaptability to supplier requirements
What are the challenges of Handlooms?
- The handloom industry must reorient itself given rapid economic changes.
- Societal changes are also impacting the handloom sector
- Technological changes have also led to problems for this sector
- Defect-free high-quality handloom is the demand for the day
- The handloom sector also needs to provide wages that are sufficient to induce younger persons to accept employment here
- It is vital to produce quality fabrics with fresh designs
What is National Handloom Day?
- To honor handloom weavers in India.
- To highlight India’s handloom industry.
The contribution of handloom to the socio-economic development of India and to boost the confidence or income of artisans but also to provide greater recognition to handloom products.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first National Handloom Day at the University of Madras’ Centenary Hall in Chennai, on 7 August 2015. August 7 was selected as the National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement that was launched in Calcutta Town Hall on this day in 1905 to protest against the British Government’s partition of Bengal. The movement aimed at reviving the production processes and domestic goods.
In order to stay connected with our roots, it is important that we help revive and give a boost to the skills of those who are part of the handloom industry. National Handloom Day is one of the ways to facilitate the same, which also helps in promoting the socio-economic development of the country.
What is the PM Modi message regarding National Handloom Day?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the 67th edition of his monthly radio program ‘Mann Ki Baat’ appealed to citizens & said “The handloom of India and our handicrafts encompass a glorious history of hundreds of years. It should be an endeavor on part of all of us to use Indian handloom and handicrafts as much as possible and also communicate to more and more people about them,”
“The more the world knows about the richness and diversity of Indian handloom and handicrafts, the greater our local artisans and weavers will benefit.”
Message from Sadhguru on National Handloom Day
Why does India need a National Handloom Day?
- Global Exposure: To promote the Indian textile and handloom industry globally.
- Motivation is the Key: Awarding artisans and weavers to motivate their zeal for their handiwork and Indian crafts.
- Symbol of Identity: The handloom industry integrated itself with political and diplomatic engagements. It is the symbol of the nation’s identity and culture. In 2015, a special weave from Varanasi “Kadhua silk” was presented to the then US first lady Michelle Obama.
- Awareness and Recognition: Handlooms have emerged as the largest cottage industry of India with weavers creating handiarts using natural fibers such as cotton, silk, and wool. We not only need to boost their confidence or income but also provide greater recognition and platforms to handloom projects.
Why is handloom declining?
- Low remuneration and high production cost
- Fast-changing consumer preferences
- Migration to other work fields
- Unstructured infrastructure
- Lack of reliable data
- Inefficient Marketing
- Lack of modernization
What can we do to save our handlooms?
We all should support our handlooms by choosing them over machine looms.
Handlooms are sustainable and Eco-friendly. It is spun on a Charkha or a loom that is operated manually. Only organic and naturally procured colors such as henna, indigo, turmeric, and pomegranate are used to dye the yarn.
Machine fabrics, on the other hand, aren’t skin-friendly. Fashion is the second most polluting industry globally. Fabrics like polyester don’t decompose for years and end up in landfills or oceans, causing severe ecological damage.
What are the different brands which make handloom clothes?
- India Handloom Brand
- Indian Handloom Industry: Benefits and Challenges. Available at: www.careerride.com/view/indian-handloom-industry-benefits-and-challenges-25206.aspx.
- “15 Things You Must Know about HANDLOOM Fabric of India.” Digiloom, 5 July 2018. Available at: www.digiloom.in/15-things-you-must-know-about-handloom-fabric-of-india/.
- “PM Narendra Modi Urges Citizens to Use Indian Handloom, Handicrafts.” BW Businessworld, BW Businessworld. Available at: www.businessworld.in/article/PM-Narendra-Modi-urges-citizens-to-use-Indian-handloom-handicrafts/26-07-2020-301582/.
- “National Handloom Day 2019: History and Significance.” Hindustan Times, 7 Aug. 2019. Available at: www.hindustantimes.com/art-and-culture/national-handloom-day-2019-history-and-significance/story-GR1hnmEzqHtgjwad9ZOuKN.html.
- “Special ‘Kadhua’ Banarasi Silk Saree for Michelle Obama.” The Indian Express, 25 Jan.2015, www.indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/special-kadhua-banarasi-silk-saree-for-michelle-obama/