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Textile Ministry pays tribute to the people behind India's glorious handlooms

The last four and a half years have been transformational for Indian textiles. Industry-centric policies, technological innovations, strong R&D, and strategic market promotion have seen the sector growing exponentially and positioned Indian textiles as a most desirable and trusted brand on the global map.

To celebrate these achievements, the Ministry of Textiles organized Artisan Speak, a one-of-a-kind event that showcased India’s glorious textiles and honoured the people behind them, at Lal Qila, Delhi on January 5, 2019. The event was held at the beautiful Sawan Pavilion, with Zafar Mahal in the distance.

The Union Minister for Textiles, Ms Smriti Z Irani, presented Special Recognition Awards to seven individuals and one organization for their excellent work in the textile sector. (Details attached)

The Minister also honoured 13 master artisans for their dedication and unparalleled contribution to the handloom industry. This included six Padma Shri awardeesandseven winners of the Sant Kabir Awardswhose work has enriched India’s textile legacy. (Details attached)

This was followed by a beautifully-choreographed show of gorgeous sarees and outfits created by six of India’s top designers who are known for their passion for traditional textiles and craft—Anita Dongre, Anju Modi, Gaurang Shah, Rahul Mishra, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Rohit Bal.

The event was organized by theFashion Design Council of India. Speaking about the event, FDCI president Sunil Sethi aid: “This was an evening of firsts—the first time that such an event was held in the surreal setting of Red Fort; the first time that we paid tribute to India’s top master weavers and crafts persons; and, most certainly, the first time that these artisans came together on a common platform with fashion designers and other creative individuals who have contributed so much to the textile industry. It was an honour for the FDCI to be associated with the Textile Ministry on Artisan Speak and to help organize an event of this nature.”

Special Recognition Awards in Textile Sector

Category – Technical Textiles

The Special Recognition Award – Technical Textiles is conferred upon ATIRA, a Government of India designated Center of Excellence. ATIRA’s efforts in Composites have resulted in innovations such as low-cost toilets, jute composites, cotton composites, GFRP, KFRP, CFRP components and CFRP hybrid products.ATIRA has also developed mission-critical components like reflectors, cylinders, blocks & struts for ISRO, which has installed them in the already launched spacecraft GSAT-29, Chandrayaan-2 and Cartosat-3.

Category – Promotion of Handicraft and Textile Design

The Special Recognition Award – Promotion of Handicraft and Textile Designis conferred upon Shri Sunil Sethi, for his pursuit of the Made in India ideology and for working relentlessly for the elevation of Indian craft and the languishing handloom industry. Shri Sethi has spent over 30 years in promoting Indian handicraft, textiles and fashion in the international and domestic market.

Category – Silk (joint award)

The Special Recognition Award is conferred upon Shri Ramesh Devanganof Champa, Chhattisgarh for developing the Buniyaad Reeling Machine for Silk Fibre. Buniyaad was developed to eradicate the unhygienic and labour-intensive thigh-reeling practices and to ensure rightful earning to poor, rural and tribal women reelers.

The Special Recognition Award is conferred upon Shri Kiran B Malaliof the Central Silk Technological Research Institute, Central Silk Board for the development of the Buniyaad Reeling Machine for Silk Fibre.

Category – Cotton

The Special Recognition Award – Cotton is presented to Shri Suresh Kotakfor his research and innovation over the last six decades. His efforts have brought India’s cotton contracts at par with international standards.

The Special Achievement Award is conferred upon Dr. Vijay Kumarfor the release of 12 cotton hybrids and high yielding varieties including the Sankar Kapas Hybrid Cotton and 25 production technologies for farmers.

The Special Achievement Award is conferred upon Shri Mani Chinnaswamy, Founder Managing Director, Appachi Eco-Logic Cotton Pvt Ltd. for his efforts at promoting Eco-Logic Cotton Contract Farming for Extra Long Staple Cotton. One of the categories is Suvin.

Category – Bamboo Silk

The Outstanding Achievement Award is conferred upon textile designer and conservationist Ms. Madhu Jain for her work with natural fibres. She has introduced India to bamboo fibre, an eco-friendly alternative textile, and developed the world’s first bamboo-silk Ikat textile.

Master Artisans Honoured

1. Padma Shri Ramkishore Chippa ‘Derawala is a master-artisan in traditional bagru and dabu handblock printing with natural dyes. By putting Bagru & Dabu prints on fabrics like Madhya Pradesh’s mulberry silk, Andhra khadi and Andhra mangalgiri, Shri Chippa has breathed new life into these fabrics and directly/indirectly provided employment to 8000 people.

2. Padma Shri Gajam Govardhan is a master-weaver specializing in Tie and Dye. He has popularized the tradition of Telia Rumals worldwide and created innovative fabric of wider widths by modifying conventional looms. The new varieties created by him are being produced on 500 looms in 15 to 20 villages of Nalgonda District.

3. Padma Shri Gajam Anjaiah is a master Weaver and Designer who is widely recognized for his innovations in ikat and his work with the Telia Rumal. He has trained 40 weavers in Chandur village in Nalgonda district and 20 weavers in Amangal village in Mahboobnagar District in Gadwal, Tie & Dye, as well as Kancheevaram, Uppada and Kota saree production.

4. Padma Shri Shribhas Supakar belongs to a Varanasi family that’s famous for textiles. He is especially known for his innovative designing of Banarasi brocades and the revival of the Jamdani and the rare Gethua weaving technique. Shri Supakar provides guidance to international scholars/ designers /authors and has trained 10 weavers in Varanasi who have gone on to win prestigious awards for their work with handloom.

5. Padma Shri Govardhan Panika is a master artisan from Kotpad, Odisha. For his intricately-woven Kotpad textiles, Shri Panika uses handspun cotton yarn that’s treated with a month-long dyeing process before being made into fabric. For dyes, he uses extracts of Aaree roots and creates beautiful colours.

6. Padma Shri Langpoklakpam Subadani Devi is a Manipuri weaver and entrepreneur specializing in traditional handloom. She has helped train hundreds of Manipuri women in the indigenous process of weaving. She played an important role at the 2008 Textile Meeting at Imphal for the inclusion of Wangkhei phee, Moirang phee and Shaphee-Lanphee in the GI Act.

7. Shri Kamaluddin Ansari belongs to Varanasi, where he practises weaving techniques that he learnt in his childhood from his father. He is known for different Banarasi weaving techniques like Pahuri, Ektara, Dumpanch, Satin Tanchoi and is the master of the Banarasi Karhuwa technique.

8. Shri Jella Venkatesham has dedicated his life to the world of textiles, with special emphasis on Double Ikat and natural dyes. In 2016, he developed an uncommon Ikat fabric that was a combination of 23 colours and 32 designs, for which he received the Sant Kabir award.

9. Shri Deviji Premji Vankar belongs to a traditional family of weavers from Kutch. He has been practising handloom weaving for 40 years and has mastery over vegetable and indigo dyeing and working with very fine yarn. His major contribution is the introduction of fine quality yarn to create soft and fine fabrics in traditional Kutch weaving.

10. Shri Ramlal Maurya learnt handloom weaving from his father in Varanasiand is a master of the Jamdani technique, which needs high concentration during weaving. He is also known for his Banarasi Karhuwa & Rangkat weaving techniques. Under his guidance, nearly 60 weavers have taken up the weaving of Jamdanis.

11. Shri V. Sundararajan has made an invaluable contribution to the handloom industry of Kancheepuram by training the younger generation and thereby keeping the local weaving tradition alive. In 1983, he introduced the custom of weaving silk sarees with an attached blouse, so that consumers did not have to face any difficulty in locating matching blouse material.

12. Shri Khem Raj Sundriyal was born into a farming family in Uttarakhand but took to weaving instead. He is a master of tapestry weaving, lamp shade (with thread) and macramé knotting. He has also improvised with the traditional Punja Daree loom.

13. Shri Bhaktaraj Meher was born in Kapabari, Remunda, Bargarh in a traditional weaver’s family known for its mastery of Ikat. He quickly acquired excellent craftsmanship of all Ikat techniques and inspired and trained youngsters in his locality to work on these techniques.