Embrace khadi and make it fashionable: Arundhati Nag

It’s time to get back to our roots and bring handlooms and hand-woven materials back into fashion.

This message comes across loud and clear when you enter the ‘Grameena Angadi’, a shop opened by the Rural Handicraft Organisation to retain and promote artisans.

Inaugurating the shop at Jayanagar 4th T Block on Thursday, theatre personality Arundhati Nag said that people, especially the middle class, must wake up to this movement and make a collective effort to use local materials instead of opting for “fashionable” materials that are clearly not skin-friendly.

“It should be a matter of social conscience. These materials are time-tested; we cannot dispute the quality of khadi. Polyester and nylon are materials that are not suited for the Indian climate. It is up to future generations to embrace khadi and make it fashionable,” she added.

Ms. Nag was excited by the range of saris available at the shop, and took a look at some of them.

The shop has a collection of saris, kurtas, bags and dress material from Koppal, Gadag, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Udupi, Hubli and Dharwad.

It also boasts the ‘Tanneer Panche’ from Kaimogga in Udupi, usually used for ‘made snana’, which is not available in other places.

The prices range from Rs. 250 to Rs. 1,500, and there are discounts of 10 to 20 per cent on some clothes.

‘Aim is self-employment’

Speaking to presspersons, B. Rajashekaramurthy, member of the organisation’s trust and State secretary of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, said that the aim of setting up the shop was to help artisans be self-employed. He said that there were no middlemen involved and the artisans directly provided their crafts to the shop and reaped the profits gained. The artisans were the biggest beneficiaries in this system, he said.

“We mainly rely on exhibition sales for finances to manage the shop. However, the government does not seem to be giving enough attention to this aspect as there are hardly any funds provided for such rural handicraft exhibitions,” he added.

Another shop in the basement, which was opened two years ago by the same organisation, has an amazing collection of jute lampshades, slippers, Channapatna toys, Navadhanya idols, herbal soaps, organic food items and jewellery.

One of the artisans, Vijay Kumar, who specialises in lampshades made of jute and cotton, said he learnt the art when he was working as a labourer. He said that now he had a chance to sell his crafts through the shop.

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