Handlooms are the intriguing and intrinsic handy work that has been an integral aspect of Indian culture and ethnicity. But many don’t know the rich history behind the Indian handloom industry, its unique struggles, and the importance of handloom weavers. To honor the same, August 7 is celebrated as National Handloom Day in India. In 2015, Narendra Modi announced this day as the National Handloom Day to celebrate the hard work of our weavers and keep this tradition alive with global exposure and promotion. In this blog, let’s tell you all about this day which focuses on coming together in preserving a dying and historic art form!
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What is Handloom?
India is famous for its handloom industry. India has the largest and amazingly skilled weavers in the world. From Tamil Nadu to Andhra Pradesh to Varanasi to Assam, handlooms are famous everywhere in India. ‘Handloom’ has been defined as “any loom other than power loom”, though it has become more detailed in recent years. In 2012, there was a new definition that was proposed, handlooms were defined as “any loom other than power loom, and includes any hybrid loom on which at least one process of weaving requires manual intervention or human energy for production.”
Through this act, it made way for weavers. There have been social media campaigns such as ‘vocal handmade’ that has created a lot of awareness amongst the government, film fraternity, and fashion industry who are all supporting the good cause.
History of Handloom Industry in India
The handloom industry has been there for centuries, with the skills being passed down from generation to generation. With the British rule in India, textiles gained political significance. Colonialism meant extraction of raw materials produced in India, weaving clothes in England, and then eventually selling them back in India was ruining the local economy.
Indians began to rebel against this. On August 7th, 1905, it was decided that foreign cloth must be boycotted. And thus, the Swadeshi Movement was born. It became one of the symbols of Indian resistance. The birth of the Swadeshi Movement was a momentous event in India’s handloom story. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, supported local weavers and the tradition of handloom to help Indians become self-sustained and independent of British-made cloth.
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About National Handloom Day
National Handloom Day is celebrated on August 7 every year, on the day when the Swadeshi Movement was launched in 1905. This day is observed every year to create awareness about the Handloom Industry amongst the citizens at large and its heavy contribution to the socio-economic development of India. The handloom sector showcases the nation’s glorious culture and heritage and is also an important source of livelihood for people in the country. It even works like a key to women’s empowerment as over 70% of handloom weavers and allied workers are women.
The first National Handloom Day was held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 in Chennai. It is the 7th National Handloom Day that will be celebrated on August 7, 2021.
There was a lot of support that was shown online as well. There were many tweets sent out on the occasion of National Handloom Day.
“On National Handloom Day, we salute all those associated with our vibrant handloom and handicrafts sector. They have made commendable efforts to preserve the indigenous crafts of our nation. Let us all be #Vocal Handmade and strengthened efforts towards an Atma Nirbhar Bharat”.
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National Handloom Day 2020
On the occasion of the National Handloom Day, the Ministry of Textiles organized a function online due to Covid 19 pandemic to avoid public gatherings. Smt Smriti Irani, Union Minister of Textiles and Women & Child Development was the Chief Guest.
The Handloom Export Promotion Council organized a virtual fair as well. The fair was held to connect more than 150 participants from various parts of the country to portray their products with their designs and skills.
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How to Celebrate this Year?
National Handloom Day is all about spreading awareness and supporting local weavers and artisans whose livelihood depends on this art form. The best way to celebrate the day is to buy textiles, clothes and garments from local weavers, local brands that source material from them and show your appreciation for the intricate and incredibly tough designs. You can also join different talks and events held by the Indian government and its departments like the Department of Textiles, Meghalaya or share photos on social media by wearing a handloom dress and using this #MyHandloomMyPride!
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Brands Supporting the Dying Art form in India
National Handloom Day is also about celebrating weavers, sellers, and local brands that have helped in preserving and continuing the unique art form in India. There are a lot of brands that promote handloom in their own way. Some of the brands are:
- Raw Mango
- Sarita Handa
- Abraham and Thakore
- Heirloom Naga
- Jigmat couture
- REHWA society
- Sacred Weaves
This was about the National Handloom Day! Tell us in the comments below what you think of this day and how you plan to celebrate it! For more content like this, make sure you follow Leverage Edu on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.