Thursday, October 30, 2008

Khadi- The Journey

Soon after independence, Khadi and Village Industries Board were established in 1953. Initially it had only 156 registered institutions. But how drastically, things have changed. Now a day every village in farthest parts of the country has it own khadi institutions. From the days of finding the weaving of khadi rather difficult, things have changed a lot. Now, range of khadi products is truly unlimited from garments to household linen to furnishings, etc.

Let’s take a look into the weaving of khadi. The basic step is spinning of the thread on the charkha which is followed by bobbin winder, then sizer and finally the weaving process. Under the system, a weaver does all the weaving at his place in an individual capacity whereas spinning is organized by the khadi Board. Weaving is most often done by men whereas spinning is performed by women and girls of the villages. There is a lot of work involved in the process and that explains its comparatively higher price than mill or handloom cloth.

Khadi has traveled a long way since the days of being identified with freedom fighter’s fabric. With changing times, it has turned into a fashion garment. It’s hard to imagine the days when it was ridiculed for being a fabric for the farmer and the rural wearer. But now, demand is such that, despite millions of workers all over India, demands are never met.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Khadi - The Origin

Khadi commands a sentimental value for Indians. It is often associated with Mahatma Gandhi. Someone said, the first true Indian designer was Mahatma because of his appeal to Indians to wear khadi garments. That appeal was necessitated because of the need of creating self reliance and proving unity of India to English. Khadi also symbolized the need and importance of indigenous manufactured goods. Khadi represented India’s resistance and revolution. Khadi was also the face of Indian identity. Many people get confused between charkha with kargha (handloom). The basic difference between the two is while khadi is hand made; handloom yarn is processed at the mills.

The actual meaning of khadi is any cloth that is hand spun and hand woven. India has long history of textiles. In the Vedic period, Aryans used to produce their own cloth. Khadi had an important role in marriage functions. Khadi charkhas were presented to brides in their wedding trousseau to encourage spinning of the yarn.

Even history supports and validates importance of khadi and basic Indian textiles. As per the historians, Alexander the Great was mesmerized by the art of fabric making and printing. The renowned traveler Marco Polo was also dazzled by this Indian beauty. But it was our own father of the nation who gave it the real importance which was long due. His launching of movement of spin your own cloth and buy hand spun cloth had whole country flocking to wear khadi and rejecting all other types of textiles. No wonder, khadi is considered as the fabric of the freedom struggle.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Latest Trends and Prices of Dupatta

Rajasthani dupattas are also called Laharia. They are mostly accompanied by tie and dye strips in colorful contrast. The literal meaning of Laharia is one that ripples in the wind. This ripple effect can be seen in not only dupatta but also in its bold stripes. Both flutter and its effects fluttering give it an impression of rippling in the wind. In some northern parts of India, it is used as a headscarf knotted at the back of the head.

The popularity of dupattas can be seen in various shopping centers in Delhi and Bombay. Numerous shops in these metros are specialized in selling various forms, designs and prints of dupattas. One can see crinkled tissues, dupattas in tanchoi, organzas and tissues, gold black prints. Among other latest trends in dupatta are; khadi-work in cottons, tinseled work on heavy silken brocades and chiffons and dupattas in tanchoi, organzas and tissues.

The price range of dupattas differs from place to place and brand to brand. Price also varies according to the style of dupatta. Like simple printed cottons and chiffons are available in relatively cheap range of Rs.60/- to Rs.80/-. More the embroidery work, highly priced will be the dupatta. For example, bridal dupattas and brocade are sold at Rs 500/- and above. One can have amazing types of dupatta provided one is willing to loosen the purse strings. The Tangails, Kanthas and Baluchars dupattas from the state of Bengal can be found in range of Rs.700/- to Rs.200/- whereas bandhini and laharia in silk and cotton range can be bought in region of Rs.100/- to Rs.500/-. Other favourite dupatta is Benares cut-work with zari and embroidered tili which is available in Rs.500/- and above.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Usage and History of Dupatta

Dupatta can be used in various formats. It can be worn with ghagra choli, with one end of Dupatta tucked at the waistband of the ghagra (long-skirt). This style is most often used by Rajasthani women. They are also known for using the dupatta on their head and both end of it flowing outwards. We can also see its usage with jeans, sometimes as a sarong or turban or sash. In south India, a different nomenclature is used for dupatta worn over a low skirt. It’s called half sari whereas in Assam it is called chaddar. In Gujarat, they call it chunri, whereas it is known as Dhathu in Himachal Pradesh. These dupattas or orhni or odhni comes in different texture of silk, cotton and chiffon. It also varies in length according to the region and culture of the place.

Going by the history, we don’t see any trace of dupatta in ancient civilization. Even archaeological evidences of Mohenjadaro and Harappan civilization don’t give us any proof of this particular garment. Though, vedic Indian people used to wear three garments; an under-garment called nivil, a garment known as vasas, and an overgarment known as adhivasa. Adhivasa was similar to dupatta or can also be termed as chaddar of modern times used by both male and female to cover their upper parts. Gradually it developed on its own as Indian women became more aware of their modesty.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Indian Dupatta

Dupatta is a typical Indian thing. Used as a traditional veil as well as fashionable scarf, Dupatta has omnipresence in India. More of a fascinating accessory, Dupatta provides wonderful finishing touch to western style dresses as well as Indian attires. Also known as the orhni or odhani, the literal meaning of dupatta is covering. Almost a diaphanous veil, it is used as a covering for the upper body parts, back, shoulders and head. The orhni is simply a length of cloth-printed, embroidered or plain, measuring two and a half to three down the back or wrapped around the shoulder.

Dupatta can be worn in various modes. One could be the traditional style of draped over the head. The other mode is, like worn with the middle portion of the dupatta resting on the chest like a garland and it’s both ends thrown over each shoulder. Often while being used with salwar-kameez, dupatta is flowing down the front and back, pinned in neat folds over just one shoulder. Some other times, both of the inner ends are knotted together over the other shoulder to form a cowl-like pattern, otherwise it generally drapes down the front and back.

Dupatta is a striking accessory that looks both graceful as well as stylist. It also provides a bit of value addition for the dress. Imagine, a plain silken or cotton salwar kameez ensemble worn with a heavily embroidered or sequined dupatta decorated with a beautiful border! How elegant! A few minor changes in dupatta or even in the way it is worn, and the whole thing gives fascinating dimensions and looks to the outfit and consequently the personality!