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Celebrating India through its textile heritage

An exhibition in Delhi is marking 75 years of India's independence through the rich legacy of its fabrics and textiles

The exhibition was jointly hosted by National Museum and Abheraj Baldota Foundation.
The exhibition was jointly hosted by National Museum and Abheraj Baldota Foundation. ( )

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From Chanderi saree to Jamdani dupatta, an exhibition celebrating 75 years of India's independence through the rich legacy of its fabrics and textiles opened on Thursday evening at the National Museum here.

Also Read: This Independence day, celebrate freedom of movement as well

Titled Sutr Santati, it was inaugurated by Union Culture Secretary Govind Mohan and many of the sartorial exhibits paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi and other freedom fighters or had a thematic representation of the numeral '75'.

The exhibits, ranged from revived Baroda Shalu (saree worn by women of the erstwhile royal family of Baroda), to Kota Doria weave on gossamer fabric of Rajasthan's Kaithoon village, celebrating the old while endeavouring to raise awareness among the newer generations about India's cultural heritage.

One textile piece on display depicted a colourful map of India with its architectural heritage and a caption marking 75 year of Independence, titled 'Gratitude to Freedom Fighters of India', while a few others showcased designs an motifs drawing inspiration from the 'charkha', the symbol of 'Swadeshi' during the freedom movement. An exhibit showing a dupatta in a silk and cotton, titled 'Vande Mataram', drew from symbols from the freedom movement.

An exhibit, 'Elements of Heritage', showcasing an exquisite shawl made with khadi, cotton, zari, and indigo dye, portrayed the architectural and cultural heritage of Jaipur like Hawa Mahal, floa and fauna and other elements -- themed on the spirit of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbukam', while a stole made of "Ahimsa Eri Silk" found in Assam, on display bore a grid of artworks drawn from various UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

According to the officials, the exhibition, hosted jointly by the National Museum and Abheraj Baldota Foundation, is about "celebrating India through the continuum of textile heritage".

Inspired by the past and informed by the present, 'Sutr Santati' seeks to steer Indian textiles towards becoming relevant for the future. A first-of-its-kind exhibition, it represents over 100 traditional Indian textiles by close to 75 participants and highlights the diverse interpretations of exceptional textile craftsmanship of India, designed to foster Indian pride, organisers said.

A Chanderi revived by the Rajmata Shubhanginiraje Gaekwad and a Baroda Shalu revived by her and Radhikaraje Gaekwad are also on display.

"A few years after Independence, the Baroda Shalu lost patronage which it had earlier enjoyed. Our family patronised artisans. The Patolas were brought to Gujarat from Maharashtra region, and Patan Patola saree is today kept by so many people in their wardrobe," Shubhanginiraje Gaekwad told PTI.

Radhikaraje Gaekwad said reviving any fabric is a challenge, both in terms of the quality of the raw material needed and skills needed, adding, during the Covid-induced lockdown, social media tools like Instagram helped in connecting the craftsmen and the consumers.

The exhibition will last till 20 September.

Also Read: What Narendra Modi's love for pagadi on Independence Day says

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