This National Handloom Day, celebrate India's artisans who are weaving a unique handcrafted legacy

The exquisite designs that the artisans exhibit through their craftsmanship and handiwork are a testament to their efforts and distinct creativity.

author_img Rebecca V Published :  07th August 2020 12:25 PM   |   Published :   |  07th August 2020 12:25 PM


Handloom is a vital part of the Indian culture and heritage, with a journey that can be traced over 2000 years in this country. The exquisite designs that the artisans exhibit through their craftsmanship and handiwork are a testament to their efforts and distinct creativity. This sector forms a crucial part of the rural fabric of our nation and employs over seven million families, second only to agriculture. 

This National Handloom Day, celebrate unique and creative artisans from India’s more remote geographies, who, under Tata Trusts’ Antaran initiative have been empowered with the knowledge and education to not only contribute to this sector but also safeguard their own economic well-being.

Artisan Entrepreneur from Maniabandha, Odisha

Bikas Mahapatra - Khimri

Bikas comes from a family of percussionists – he took his lessons in percussion from his maternal grandfather. While his father was a percussionist and a weaver, his mother brought him up by practising badha (tying) work. He completed his education until 10th standard and started working at an early age of 12 years. At the age of 19, he moved to Surat to work in a textile company, however, he couldn’t leave his mother alone which is when he returned home and learnt how to weave. Bikas now specializes in tye-dyeing as well as weaving.

Ikat Yardages and sarees, which are a speciality from Maniabandha, a small village in Orissa, exuberate contemporary motifs with a refreshing palette of cool colours best suited for summers.

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Akula Charan Nandi – Triratna Handloom

Akula learnt the art of weaving from his mother. He lost his father, who was also a weaver, at the early age of eight. Post that, his mother took complete responsibility of their family – including his five sisters and a brother.  

In 1995, he completed his graduation and planned to join the blind school as a teacher. Unfortunately, he couldn't get the position. In 1999, his house caught fire and he ended up losing his loom and many of his products. Amidst all these ups and downs, owing to Antaran’s initiatives, Akula is now standing on his feet.

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Artisan Entrepreneurs from Gopalpur, Odisha

Babuli – Babuli Handloom

In order to support his family monetarily, Babuli, at a very young age was initiated into his family tradition and occupation of weaving. He soon learnt design and yarn dyeing skills from his father, which is now his specialty. He co-creates with professional designers and his products were showcased at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2018.

The traditional Kumbha bandha (temple tie and dye) dupattas and stoles boast of the intricate butis (tiny motifs) woven on the products by the artisan.

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Artisan Entrepreneur from Kamrup, Assam

Dipika Kakati – Poni Handloom

In order to support her family, Dipika began weaving commercially for low wages at an early age. Being a landless weaver, she did not have the privilege of education and was married young. After losing her home and loom in a flood, she built a temporary home and supported her family by weaving on a rented loom. She struggled hard with low wages before she came to know of Antaran. She has since learnt about designs and markets by joining classes held at the Incubation & Design Centre at Bhagwatipara. In no time, her abilities bloomed and she established herself as an independent entrepreneur.

Assam is famous for its extra-weft weaves, where the motif is embossed on the woven cloth – these motifs draw inspiration from rich Assamese tradition, folklore and legends and this is where her expertise lies. 

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Artisan Entrepreneur from Dimapur, Nagaland

Vekuvolu Dozo

Vekuvolu Dozo is a young loin loom weaver from Nagaland. She learnt weaving from her mother when she was very young. Due to financial constraints, she couldn’t pursue her degree in college after she completed her 12th standard at the age of 19.

Soon after, she got married to a missionary in Uttar Pradesh, and in the absence of her husband, she struggled a lot for the livelihood of her family. In 2019, soon after undergoing training workshops and support from Antaran, she started weaving and began to earn a living through it. Today, she has four full-time weavers and five other part-time weavers who work for her.

Lion loom is one of the most primitive forms of weaving. Each strand of yarn is handpicked to form beautiful geometric patterns, using designs that are rooted in tradition, culture and mythology.

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