Shillong (Meghalaya ), Aug 6 :The Textiles Department is observing the National Handloom Day on Saturday , Aug 7 which commemorates the launch of Swadeshi Movement on Aug 7 1905, when Gandhiji actively encouraged local indigenous industries and particularly handloom weavers to collectively work together, in the interest of the National Movement.
The state will join the country in honoring the handloom weaving community, highlighting the contribution of the sector to the socio-economic development, protecting handloom heritage, empowering the handloom weavers with greater opportunities, ensuring sustainable development of handloom sector and empowering handloom weavers and workers financially & instilling pride in their exquisite workmanship.
In Meghalaya , not only is handloom a symbol of the state’s rich and varied cultural heritage, but it is also an important source of livelihood in rural and semi-rural parts. It is a sector directly addresses women empowerment with over 70% of the weavers and elite workers being female. It is rooted in nature, eco-friendly in production process with minimal requirement of capital and power and provides inherent flexibility to innovate and meet challenges in fashion trends and fast changing customer preferences.
The Textiles Department has taken proactive steps in the setting up of an Eri Corner in 2020 to showcase the rich Handloom traditions of the state especially the unique Ryndia which is ethically produced and processed, organically dyed and much sought after in niche markets the world over.
In February, 2021, the State Government also recognized & declared the Umden-Diwon villages under Raid Nongtluh in Ri-Bhoi as the State’s first Eri Silk Village in the state. Ryndia logo has also been conceptualized & developed for wider brand visibility of the Ryndia products.
Recently, the office of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka Bangladesh has also requested for the states unique textile products to be showcased at the Indian Cultural Centre & Chancery at Dhaka as part of the Celebration of 50 years of liberation of Bangladesh. Steps are being taken to make available the State’s Textile products in the “Spotlight Northeast”, e-commerce platform of Amazon in collaboration with NEHHDC (North East Handloom Handicrafts Development Corporation). The Northeast desk of the Invest India office, has also recently utilized the state’s Ryndia products for showcasing the same to various International Embassies in Delhi.
Leveraging on the India@75 celebrations, various programmes are being organized on a decentralized mode across the state in view of the current pandemic situation.
In Ri-Bhoi District, in the Umden-Diwon Eri Silk village area, the District Handloom Officer, Ri-Bhoi District in collaboration with various Textiles & Handloom cooperatives/ Societies/Dyers/ SHGs etc is organizing the Ri-Bhoi Weaving and Natural Dyeing Competition and also the Motifs/Patterns on Floor Loom Competition. Weavers of Ri-Bhoi District are known for their Eri (Ryndia) weaves, which are distinct in their intricate traditional motifs. The symbols from their tradition are interwoven into their various unique Handloom products. Bamboo floor looms are extensively used along with organic dyes. In the Natural Dyeing Competition – The weavers will showcase the art of natural/organic dyeing which has been practiced by weavers, in Ri-Bhoi since time immemorial. The Dyes are natural and organic and are extracted from resources found in nature such as, iron ore, lac, onion, turmeric, tea leaves, hibiscus flower and many others. No chemicals are used. Even the mordants or fixers are leaves of plants. The colours emerging are vibrant and eco-friendly. A limited Mini Exhibition of various Handloom products and award winning entries will be organized to showcase the rich Handloom heritage of the area. DIRC( Design Innovation Resource Centre) on Ryndia in collaboration with NIFT is being set up at Umden Diwon .
In collaboration with NESFAS, Department of Arts & Culture & Textiles Department is also organizing the first ever India@75 Khneng Embroidery Competition. Khneng embroidery is a unique 200year old traditional embroidery sewn on Eri (Ryndia) and practiced by weavers of Mustoh and Shella of Sohra (Cherrapunji) East Khasi Hills District. To highlight the above art on National Handloom Day, a Khneng embroidery Competition will be held in the above border village on diverse India@75 themes.
The Department is also Celebrating National Handloom Day in Garo Hills. District Handloom/Sericulture Officer, Garo Hills along with various Textiles & Handloom cooperatives /Societies/Dyers/SHGs etc. of Garo Hills region. The Department will also be awarding and recognizing Textile entrepreneurs and oldest weavers of Garo Hills. Norombi Cooperative Society, East Garo hills which has obtained Silk Mark, will showcase diverse products. There will also be active involvement of private weavers and showcasing of the products across Garo Hills.
In collaboration with Incubator and Accelerator Training cum Production Centre, Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Sohra, East Khasi Hills District, there will be showcasing of traditional products/accessories being produced by skilled weavers of the above centre. Online Exhibition of Handloom products of various Self Help Groups, from surrounding villages is being organized and anchored on sustainability concepts will also be organized.