Over time, India’s handloom industry has grown to become the most important cottage industry. Pure fibers such as cotton, silk, and wool have been used by handloom weavers to create products. The primary purpose of National Handloom Day is to highlight the importance of handloom in India’s socio-economic development.
The handloom industry is both a symbol of the country’s rich cultural heritage and a vital source of income. Over 70% of handloom weavers and allied employees are women, making this industry crucial for women’s empowerment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first National Handloom Day on the Centenary Corridor of the College of Madras in Chennai on August 7, 2015. Since then, the government has designated August 7 as National Handloom Day, with the goal of raising awareness about the importance of the handloom industry.
The date of August 7 was chosen as National Handloom Day to honour the Swadeshi Movement, which began on this day in 1905 in the Calcutta City Corridor. The Swadeshi Movement was formed at the time to resist the British government’s partition of Bengal.
The Swadeshi Movement grew stronger when Bengal was partitioned. On August 7, 1905, the Calcutta Town Hall issued an official proclamation to boycott foreign goods in favour of Indian-made items. It was a thank you to weavers and others in the business for helping to promote handlooms.
In July 2015, the Union Government announced August 7th as National Handloom Day with the goal of raising awareness about the relevance of the handloom sector to the country’s socioeconomic development. The main idea was to demonstrate against the British government’s division of Bengal. The goal of the movement was to revitalise indigenous products and manufacturing techniques.
It is held on the 7th of August every year to honour the handloom industry. The day also emphasizes how handloom contributes to the country’s socioeconomic growth and increases weavers’ income.
The special occasion honours handloom weavers while also highlighting the country’s handloom industry. The particular occasion in India aims to raise public awareness about the role of handloom in India’s socio-economic development. The purpose of the day is to increase revenue for handloom weavers.
A ‘handloom’ is a loom that is used to weave material without the use of electricity. Primitive looms, pit looms, body looms, and semi-automatic looms are divided into four categories based on their construction and working technique. On August 7, 2021, India will celebrate its sixth National Handloom Day across the country, coordinated by the Ministry of Textiles.
The kings and queens of India used to wear handmade robes that displayed their wealth and royalty. The cotton textile industry was also present at Mohenjo-Daro. When India gained independence from the British, the government made sure that craftsmen were well-served by a variety of initiatives and insurance policies that aided the sector’s development.
What exactly is a handloom?
Whether it’s Tamil Nadu’s famous Kanchipuram saris or Assam’s Muga (golden silk) mekhela sadors, Maharashtra’s Paithani weaves, or Uttar Pradesh’s Benarasi brocades, India possesses the world’s largest and most ubiquitous weaving industry.
While several definitions for the term have emerged since the Handloom (Reservation and Articles for Production) Act of 1985, when it meant “any loom other than a power loom,” it has gotten increasingly elaborate in recent years. A new definition was proposed in 2012: “Handloom” refers to any loom other than a power loom and any hybrid loom on which at least one weaving process necessitates human interaction or energy for production.”
It essentially created space for power loom weavers to enter in a more relaxed manner. However, social media initiatives such as #vocal4handmade have been popular, with government leaders, actors, and fashion designers rallying behind the cause.
Any weaving community today can proclaim that, while there may have been five looms in every homeless than a half-decade ago, locating one loom among five houses today may be a stroke of luck. Weavers have gotten the short end of the stick for a variety of reasons.
In 2015, the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry expressed concern about a cotton scarcity for weavers in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra. Their transportation costs were increased by the fact that they had to travel considerable distances to obtain cotton. Furthermore, smaller weavers have been unable to purchase in bulk, resulting in poorer material output.
According to the Textile Association of India, the textile sector’s budget allocation decreased to Rs 4,831 crore in 2019-2020 from Rs 6,943 in the previous fiscal. This also means that other programmes, such as housing, subsidies, and health insurance, will have an impact on the weaver.
The weavers of India need to be better acknowledged with facilities and amenities to be able to support their families. Though many advanced machines have replaced most of them but still hand-woven cloth is always the first preference when it comes to the finest choices in clothing.