Single Ikat Artisans and NIFT Students Spin a Vibrant Tale of India’s Weaves
– NIFT students pan-India work with Indian artisans across 75 handloom clusters as part of the Cluster initiative
– Odisha Ikat weavers and NIFT students to take handloom to more audiences
Bhubaneswar: In a celebration that intertwines art, culture, and history, the Ministry of Textiles is honouring traditional handloom artisans as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav — a celebration of India’s 75 years of Independence. The occasion serves as evidence of the government’s dedication to safeguarding and strengthening the rich tradition of handloom workmanship in the country. As part of the effort, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) students are working with artisans and weavers in 75 clusters across India to exchange knowledge and ideas to take Indian handloom to a wider audience.
India’s handlooms in recent years have taken the global stage. We’ve seen global dignitaries adorning our traditional looms during the recently organised G20 Summit. It is the art that we must cherish, preserve and promote as much as possible. As proud Indians it is our responsibility to bring our artisans on a global platform, where in they can share their love and passion for the artform with millions of other people globally. NIFT’s cluster initiative allows master craftsmen and weavers to pass on their art to future designers and handloom enthusiasts, while allowing them to imbibe newer ideas and modern ways from the students.
“India’s handlooms have gracefully taken centre stage on the global platform, a testament to their timeless artistry and cultural significance. As proud Indians, we embrace the responsibility to elevate our artisans to a worldwide audience, allowing them to share their profound love and passion for this art form with millions across the globe. With steadfast government support, we strive to empower these skilled craftsmen, securing their livelihoods and weaving a vibrant tapestry of cultural pride that resonates far beyond our borders. The government’s robust initiatives provide financial assistance, skill development, and enhanced market access, bolstering the growth of this treasured industry. Together, we weave a brighter future, preserving our rich cultural legacy for generations to come,” stated Smt.
Darshana V. Jardosh, Minister of State for Railways & Textiles, Government of India.
Maniabandha, a picturesque village in Baramba tehsil of Cuttack district, Odisha, serves as the enchanting backdrop for the vibrant Ikat Cluster. The community, which has a population of 4,264 people and is surrounded by mountains and green fields, employs 1,000 to 2,000 craftspeople of any gender or age. Festivals like Dussehra, Lakshmi Puja, Savitri Puja, and New Year (on Hanuman Jayanti) hold special significance for the village, as the residents come together adorned in new and traditional clothes, often purchasing at least one piece of the exquisite Ikat craft.
“Being a part of the Ikat Cluster has been transformative,” shared Garima Vij, 3rd Year, NIFT student. “Collaborating with skilled artisans from Orissa, I’ve witnessed the enchanting process of setting weft yarns, tying intricate designs, and experiencing the artistry of dyeing. It’s a mesmerising journey, and I’m inspired to preserve India’s rich handloom legacy.”
The Ministry of Textiles, in collaboration with NIFT, recognised the immense talent and potential of the NIFT students in contributing to further strengthening India’s handloom legacy. As a part of their cluster initiative programme, NIFT students engaged with the local artisans in the Single Ikat Cluster in Maniabandha. Under the guidance of skilled artisans, they witnessed the meticulous craftsmanship, experiencing the essence of this timeless art form first-hand.
“Their fresh perspectives and innovative design ideas have breathed new life into our craft. These students fearlessly try out new patterns and colours, inspiring us to venture into uncharted territories. We truly appreciate the collaboration with such young and bright minds. Witnessing their enthusiasm fills us with confidence and pride, knowing that with these students as our representatives, the art form will continue to thrive in the future,” expressed Bikash Mohapatra, Master Weaver from Maniabandha.
As we approach National Handloom Day, the Ministry of Textiles celebrates the ingenuity and creativity of NIFT students, who have become torchbearers in illuminating India’s handloom legacy at the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’s Ikat Cluster. Their dedication and passion for preserving traditional crafts complement the government’s vision of fostering self-reliance and empowering local artisans.
The Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav pays a fitting tribute to the skilled artisans and NIFT students, reinforcing India’s commitment to nurturing its invaluable handloom legacy and weaving a resplendent tapestry of tradition and modernity.