This Article First Appeared In Indianexpress On Dec 28, 2022
Looking back at my 30-plus years working with Indian handlooms, I see both positive and negative trends. What is certain is that the craft world has changed, not in the slow-paced gradual way of changes in the past, but much faster than before.
The weavers of India have supplied the markets of the world with cotton cloth since at least the first century of the Common Era. In pre-industrial times, the many varieties of Indian cotton cloth — bafta, mulmul, mashru, jamdani, moree, percale, nainsukh, chintz, etc — were the source of India’s fabled wealth. Until colonial times, the yarn for handloom weaving in India had been spun by hand. With the invention of spinning machinery in Britain and the import of machine-spun cotton yarn, this occupation vanished.