In 1918, Mahatma Gandhi started popularizing Khadi as the symbol of independence from British factory made cloth. He urged people to make and wear homemade clothes of khadi and thus boycotting foreign manufactured clothes. Fast forward to almost 100 years, in 2017, the same khadi which was a symbol of independence and self-reliance for the people across the country has become a war ground for a government agency and a corporate house.
Recently, the state-run Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) sent a legal notice to Fabindia for selling garments in the name of Khadi. To quote from the notice, “the organization (Fabindia) was continuing to sell its garments in the name and style of khadi despite earlier warnings by KVIC and assurances by Fabindia that it will not do so. It is an illegal act and amounts to indulging in unfair trade practice.”
KVIC is an independent body under the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME), set up in 1956 to promote khadi and to protect the khadi artisans from malpractices prevalent in the marketplace. As per the Khadi Mark Regulations, 2003, no textile can be sold or traded by any person or certified khadi institution as khadi or khadi products in any form without it bearing a khadi mark tag issued by a committee under the regulation. KVIC provides for the Khadi Registration Seva tag by a 45 days process in which a fee ofRs. 10000 is charged along with a few quality checks. Only after this process is completed, an enterprise can use the tag of ‘Khadi’.
Fabindia Overseas Pvt. Ltd. was established in 1960 as an Indian label which claims to be the “country’s largest retail platform for goods produced by artisans who live largely in rural areas.” KVIC alleges that Fabindia uses the word ‘khadi’ on its price tags while calling them ‘Fabindia cotton’ on the labels stuck to garments. “This misleads customers”, the KVIC chairperson, V.K. Saxena claimed. He added that they had been in negotiations with Fabindia since last year but Fabindia refrained from following the procedural formalities despite agreeing to do so in a written application. Fabindia CEO, Vinay Singh said in a statement that they have responded to the notice and have requested a meeting with KVIC officials for the same.
The Debate-What is real ‘khadi’?
While the end resultof this legal battle might be a truce betweenFabindia and KVIC, what must the customers make out of the garments sold in stores and websites in the name of ‘Khadi’?
By definition, Khadi is handspun, hand-woven fabric. The issue here is that the definition is too ambiguous. There might be many types of cloth which are not khadi but fit perfectly into the definition while other prospects of being called khadi but do not fit even near this definition. In fact, questions have been raised on the authenticity of what’s paraded as khadi by KVIC institutions as most of them are manufactured by semi mechanized Ambar Charkhas. Desi charkhas have gone out of practice as they make the manufacturing process too slow.
So, is it okay to accept Ambar Charkha Khadi sold by KVIC and its regulated institutions as authentic khadi because of the Khadi Mark tag? Legally yes; realistically-there is no answer! What can be said as a fact is that there are very few centers across the nation that actually make handspun, handwoven khadi.
This messy legal battle has brought the reality out in the open and has put the customers in a fix.
Is Fabindia within its rights to challenge the Khadi Mark notification of 2003? Should private brands wage a battle with KVIC over the ownership of khadi?
In the midst of all this mayhem, a much more fundamental question still looms over.
Should the ownership of this symbol of freedom remain in the hands of these so called ‘government administrators’ or the nation itself?
The stunning art of making blue glaze pottery came to Rajasthan through Kashmir from Turko- Persian origins. Owing its name to the striking Persian Blue dye used to colour the clay, blue pottery is widely considered as a traditional craft of Jaipur in spite of its foreign origins.
It is said that Sawai Ram Singh, like Sawai Jai Singh, was a great patron of art and crafts, and had sent local artisans to Dilli in the 17th century to be trained in the craft of blue pottery, bringing the skill to Jaipur. (If you ever go to the Rambagh palace in Jaipur, tell us if you see the blue tiles lining the fountains there)
Bin maati ka ghada
Ji, you read that right! Jaipur blue pottery, made out of similar frit material to Egyptian faience, is glazed and low-fired. The ‘dough’ for the pottery is prepared by mixing quartz stone powder, powdered glass, multani mitti, borax, gum, water and saaji (that’s sodium bicarbonate for you).
Some of this pottery is semi-transparent and beautifully decorated with animal and bird motifs.
The Science behind the Blue
(No, don’t skip the part going by the title. Padh lo, show off hi karlena, theeke?)
The signature colour palette of this art is restricted to blue derived from the cobalt oxide, green from the copper oxide and white, though non-conventional colours such as yellow and brown are sometimes included. It was the Mongol artisans who developed the use of blue glaze on pottery by combining the Chinese glazing technology with Persian decorative arts (Haanji, somebody copied something from China, let that sink in!)
Bringing Blue Back
Reverse the clocks of time to 1950 and with the winds of industrialization blowing in full swing, blue pottery had all but vanished from Jaipur. It was through the effort of muralist and painter Kripal Singh Shekhawat and the support of patrons such as Kamladevi Chattopadhaya that the lanes of the Pink City glimmered with the Blue ghadas and ketlis again.
Today, blue pottery is an industry providing livelihood to innumerous people in and around Jaipur. The traditional designs have been adapted to modern lifestyle products. Products made from blue pottery can bring life to setting. From coasters, cases, bowls, boxes to even ashtrays and napkin holders, blue pottery can bring a swivel in the saunter of any household or work space.
Find the set of blue pottery that defines you (and don’t let go, ever) here :http://lal10.com/collections/jaipur-blue-pottery-decor
And remember, you don’t really choose your blue pottery, in reality, the blue pottery chooses you. (Potterheads, assemble!)
We, at Lal10, understand the beauty (you know it’s there) of the brother-sister bond (having suffered the same ordeals ourselves!) And so we bring to you the Organic Cotton Seed Rakhi (and why you totally need it for this Rakshabandhan!)
No, it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows. But you made it through the frequent thunderstorms and occasional cyclones. No, it wasn’t always lush green. But you made it past the droughts. No, it wasn’t always “If it’s too sunny, I’ll be there and you can sit in my shade”. But you did make it past the thorns. So what better Rakhi to tie to your (ultimate) bhai’s wrist than the one which perfectly sums up your relationship?
Get your hands dirty, have bucket loads of fun and finally when it’s all done, enjoy the fruits of your labour, because nothing feels better than to see your hard work blossom into something with life and beautiful, like a plant!
Every year, India celebrates the 7th of August as National Handloom Day (yeah no you don’t, you didn’t even know aisa bhi kuch hota hai). But this time, we at Lal10, decided to test how pro-desi you actually are. So scroll down, find out how many of the fabrics and prints you know and comment your scores below.
Hailing from land of Kutchh, it declares it’s presence through it’s vibrant stripes and
aesthetic compositions. One may even describe it as the ultimate con in the world of
fabrics, for even though it has a lavish silken look on the outside, the inside has a soft cotton touch.
Made by weaving goat, camel and sheep wool into various patterns, the average shelf life
of Kharad rugs and carpets is more than a 100 years. Known for bold geometric patterns, beautiful desert compositions and strength, Kharad carpets had always been patronized by the Gujrati and Sindhi royals.
If you haven’t heard of the Jamdani cotton, then you really need to brush up on your GK (or just go get some Bengali friends). Not only is Jamdani one of the finest Bengali muslin, but its intricacies are so charismatic that the traditional art of weaving Jamdani has been declared as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNSECO.
The Pochampally village of Telangana houses over 5000 looms producing this textile. Pochampally sarees are known for their intricate geometric designs and the ability to bring grace to anyone who adorns it. With the livelihood of almost 95% villagers depending on this handloom, it has found a tentative place in UNSECO’s list of “iconic saree weaving clusters of India.” Infact, the air hostesses of Air India wear specially designed Pochampally sarees!
Ikat, scientifically, is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles. Desi-ly, bright colours, edgy patterns and blurred lines define Ikat fabrics. 2014 saw the return of Ikat, as it quickly showed up in the collections of many reputed designers. Since then, whether it was chic ikat tops paired with skinny jeans or ikat bags and purses, there has been no looking back!
If your mom’s a saree fanatic, there is no way you haven’t heard about or seen Kora cotton sarees. Like most South Indian Sarees, they usually have a lavish pallu of bright colours with a hint of shining zari. However, for the kora cotton sarees, the artistic appeal lies in the various motifs one witnesses over the interplay of silk and cotton threads.
If you are ever asked to describe the Mangalagiri cotton, all you need are three words – soft, superior and splendid. This is the cotton that is perhaps flaunted the most by auntyjis because of it’s quality and exquisite hues. So if you haven’t heard of this fabric even when your mom’s a saree fanatic, jao – chulu bhar paani main doob jao.
Perhaps the most common form of embroidery, it refers to the method by which embellishments are sown into the fabric using metallic threads whilst creating ethereal designs. With an unmatched allure and a mystic beauty, zardozi patterns can transform any fabric giving it the ‘nawaabi andaaz’ of Lucknow.
The Ajrakh prints are a time honored emblem for the local communities of Kutch. ‘Aaj ke din rakh’ or ‘keep it for the day’ goes in line with its processing duration which involves each stage consuming a day or more. Using complex geometry to create starry constellations and intricate designs, the Ajrakh print is found to be extremely captivating and ‘captures the entire sky on a fabric’, according to the accounts of certain Arab travelers. (Fun fact: azrak means ‘sky’ or ‘blue’ in Arabic)
If you’ve seen the video ‘The Beauty that is Bagh’ on the Lal10 blog (yes, shameless advertising) then you already know the mithaas of this print. The hues, the prints and the simplicity of Bagh is enough to cheer up a melancholic soul.
Padha, janaab? Ab chalo, Comment your scores below!
P.S: Maneet, Sanchit and Albin will accept winner’s friend request and give them free business tips for life.
No other state in India defines grandeur like Rajasthan does. But lost in the myriad intricate architecture, the colorful lives and royal heritage, you and I, both tend to forget the vibrancy that lies in the rich tradition of block-printing in Rajasthan.
Every village here boasts of the Chhipa artisans who engage in block-printing – an art that one would think would’ve been lost because of modern techniques like screen printing, and yet is always found, silently reminding us of the beauty of this craft. The Chhipa’s hand over their skills, from parent to child, as the family heirloom and the expertise remains within the family.
A Sanganeri Affair
Walk through the gallis of Sanganer, a village near Jaipur, and you will find more than 1200 families and almost 1800-3000 artisans making a living out of very fine block-cutting and printing.
Let yourself drown in the sober, low-toned colours of the prints. Watch as the delicate lines subtly swirl and swivel to create fine designs of the poppy, rose and lotus which gleam against a white background.
And finally, understand ‘nazakat’ in the prints of the Sanganeri print while they emit a pleasant odour, as they are dyed using natural (vegetable) colours.
Besides Sanganeri, Sanganer is also famous for its Calico and Doo Rookhi printing. Calico quilts, covers and saris are popular for their bold diagonal prints. In Doo Rookhi printing, as the name suggests, the artist prints on both sides of the cloth.
Bold And Bagru
When your heart moves yonder from the calm of the Sanganeri, tread forth to look for the big, bold and theth Bagru motifs, with the dabu and the dyeing process producing a reddish black tinge. Let the wild flowers, buds and foliage twirl around and inspire you as they have inspired the block-printing artisans here, who have kept this art alive for more than three centuries.
The study of the evolution and layout in Bagru printing clearly reveal a change from old tradition and style with time. Initially the prints were floral and vegetative. After the Persian influence they became more geometric, for example, one often finds a round centre and motifs placed around it.
Sanganeri with its nazakat and Bagru with its theth form is celebrated all over the country, and has acquired international acclaim as well! They adorn garments, bedspreads, curtains, table linen, and numerous other household decoration items all over India.
From a tribal art in a small village in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh gradually fading to oblivion, today Bagh prints have emerged as a best-seller, leaving a huge imprint on the textile and handicrafts world!
Bagh print has its roots in Sindh, which is now a part of Pakistan. The art of Bagh printing then travelled eastwards to Marwar (Rajasthan) and later to Manavar (Madhya Pradesh) with the migration of the craftsmen. Over time, the style of Bagh Printing has flourished and attained uniqueness. The present form of Bagh printing began in 1962 when the craftsmen migrated from Manavar to the neighboring town of Bagh situated in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh and hence Bagh has always been associated with this printing style.
Bagh printing is a style of printing on textiles involving blocks that are carved onto motifs representing the beauty of nature. The serenity of flora of the likes of Jasmine, Mushroom and Leheriya, the charisma of the landscapes, and the geometrical arrangement of figures present an aesthetic blend of poetry and symmetry to these exquisite textiles of MP. Some prints are also inspired by the splendid ‘jaali’ work that embellished the Taj Mahal and various other forts, which give them a touch of Mughal grandeur.
Apart from the different moods the motifs evoke, the prints have a distinctive muted charm which mimics the best and most sophisticated screen printing. Also the Bagh textiles are extremely soft which is attributed to the repeated washes they get in the Bhagini River.
Making a Bagh printed fabric is an elaborate and intricate process carried out very meticulously. Soft material like cotton, tussar, silk and crepe are firstly soaked overnight and then dried. In a cement tub, a paste is made of goat’s droppings, raw salt or sanchiri, castor oil and water and the fabric is immersed in this paste by stamping it. It is then dried in layers on a sloped surface to allow the water to drain. Once again it is washed, bleached and dried and is thus readied for printing.
To print, a small sized plastic tray is prepared with a bamboo jaali fitted- in, on which black or red paste is applied. Over this, layers of thick wet cloth are placed which soak in the colors. The block is then dipped into it and placed with a light touch on the fabric which is stretched on a table with a stone slab covered with seven layers of jute. Once the printing is done, the cloth is dried and kept aside for eight days. The final stage is to hold it in running water of the Bhagini River. Thereafter, it is dried again and put in the bhatti mixed with dhawala flowers and alzarin. Bleaching and drying follow. And finally, a gorgeous Bagh textile is ready.
Bagh prints have become increasingly popular from its erstwhile status of being nearly forgotten. Traditionally, this printing style was used for a few products such as lehengas and sarees, whereas now it has innovated and expanded its range to bed covers, dupattas, dress materials, curtains, table cloths and much more. This craft is also gaining recognition as an eco-friendly technique and therefore Bagh printing is making forays into foreign markets by experimenting and evolving to satisfy their global clientele.
One of the most famous art forms of India that has been part of exhibitions in museums all over the world is the Madhubani form of painting. Madhubani painting or Mithila painting is a unique style of painting, practiced in the Mithila region of Nepal and in the Indian state of Bihar.
Folklore says the origin of this art form can be traced to the time of the Ramayana, when King Janaka of Nepal ordered his kingdom to decorate the town for the wedding of his daughter, Sita, to Lord Rama. Naturally, Madhubani paintings have been a very important part in the cultural arena of Bihar for ages.
Through time, five distinctive styles of this art form have evolved, namely, Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna and Gobar. Madhubani art has In the 1960s Bharni, Kachni and Tantrik style were mainly done by the upper caste Brahman and Kayashth women in India and Nepal. Their themes were mainly religious and they depicted Gods and Goddesses, flora and fauna in their paintings. People of lower castes include aspects of their daily life and symbols, the story of Raja Shailesh (guard of village) and much more, in their paintings. But nowadays Madhubani art has become a globalised art form so there is no difference in the work of artists of the region on the basis of caste system. They are working in all five styles.
Madhubani paintings are done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, and are characterized by eye-catching geometrical patterns. The painting captures the mind as well as the heart of the people who see it. There are paintings for each occasion and festival such as birth, marriage, Holi, Surya Shasti, Kali Puja, Durga Puja etc. The explicit beauty of this art has brought international and national attention to the state of Bihar.
The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, but now they are also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Madhubani paintings are made from the paste of powdered rice. Madhubani painting has remained confined to a compact geographical area and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same which especially increases their cultural as well as economic value!
Madhubani paintings received official recognition in 1969 when artist Sita Devi received the State award by the Government of Bihar. This art-form has travelled a long way today when there are museums in India and overseas exclusively dedicated to Madhubani paintings!
The human race through the ages has followed various paths for the expression of reverence and adoration for their beloved deityThe serene faith and devotion of Indians towards Lord Krishna is most beautifully embodied in the incredible works of art that they create in his dedication!
Known for its inherent spiritual implications that reach beyond immediate aesthetic appeal, Sanjhi art is considered to be one of the finest arts of spiritual expression. The term ‘Sanjhi’ is derived from the Hindi word ‘sandhya’, the period of dusk with which the art form is typically associated. The art beautifully celebrates the vibrant culture of India with a predominant focus on Krishna’s Leela in the gardens of Vrindavan.
Folklore credits the lover of Sri Krishna, Radha as the first one to use the method of Sanjhi art to make lovely rangolis with hopes of impressing him!
The origins of Sanjhi art can be traced to the Mathura in Uttar Pradesh during the period of 16th and 17th century. With beautiful and intricate paper cuts, the artist explores Lord Krishna and the plethora of folklore associated with him. The beauty of this particular art form lies in its simplicity.
Intricate patterns are drawn on various types of paper which are cut out to form a stencil used to make intricate Rangolis. The use of flowers for the Rangoli has been superseded by the use of powdered colors over time. Owing to modernization, this
art form has evolved from Rangolis to paintings on canvases over time.
This form art requires enormous concentration, skill and devotion of the artist for a single slip can destroy hours of his hard work!
The innovative use of paper-cut stencils to make paintings in Sanjhi art made art reproducible. The rare and precious art form has been passed down in the craftsmen’s families as a beloved treasure! One of the example of this Mr. Ram Soni who was given National Award by the President of India for excellence in Sanjhi Art over a period five generation.
themes breaking all religious boundaries with its inexplicable beauty! The other positive aspect acquired during this era was the versatility of the medium on which the Rangoli was made. In modern times this art form has received a wide audience and fame, with which commercialization followed. Nowadays the families practicing Sanjhi Art can be found in the states Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Indians are die-hard dessert lovers. It’s because of the loyalty of their taste buds and the magical desi recipes, the sweet-making industries of India are still thriving with full power facing against tough contenders like chocolates and ice creams.
Available in different shapes and sizes, Agra Pethas are the sweetest amongst all!
Legend has it that in the early 1600 century the Empress of the Mughal Empire and wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir Noor Jahan’s convoy halted at a petha market after noticing the preparation of petha. She instantly fell in love with this delicious preparation and decided to take the ‘petha’ sweet in the Mughal kitchen of Agra with some royal touch.
Pethas became very popular more than 350 years ago, slipping out of the royal kitchen of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. From then on, this sugary, syrupy sweet kept gaining popularity. More than 700 cottage units manufacture this delicacy that has given Agra another reason to be proud beside the Taj Mahal.
But nowadays, the prime reason of its popularity is the brand Panchhi Petha!
Seventy years ago, at the age of 24, Seth Pancham Lal Goyal (fondly called Panchhi) started Panchhi Petha with just one store. Today, the 100-year-old family-run Panchhi Petha Group has seven branches in Agra alone and has also opened outlets in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Lucknow. Keeping up with the changing demands and tastes of consumers, Panchhi Petha have been aiming to create newer types of pethas to keep the interest alive.
Panchhi chocolate petha Panchhi paan petha
Recently, they even introduced a sugar-free variant that allows diabetics to enjoy it too!
Pethas have always been the purest type of sweets, just sugar, water and fruit! No additives, no impurities and synthetics. Flavours like chocolate added to it these days have made it even yummier! People of Agra rightly call this as ‘God's sweet’.
Coorg (Koda gu) is a beautiful hill district along the Western Ghats in the state of Karnataka, South India well known for its aromatic coffee, luscious oranges and fragrant spices. In this wonderful setting, one entrepreneur is turning the region’s traditions of bee-keeping and honey collecting into a global operation called Nectar Fresh honey.
Today, this award winning woman works with more than 100 farmers and makes varieties of honey for both Indian and foreign market.
One of the rare premium brands of fresh honey, jams and fruit preserves, which many upmarket hotels across the country stock up on regularly now, Nectar Fresh has thrived on Chayaa’s tireless energies since 2007.
“Since I was a first-generation entrepreneur, I didn’t have a guide or mentor,” says Chayaa, all of 43 years. “Everything I learnt was by trial and error. It cost me time and money, but the lessons have endured.”
Born in Nalkeri, in Kodagu, the only daughter of a coffee-planter father and a headmistress mother, circumstances forced young Chayaa to halt her education after Class 12.
As a Coorgi woman, she had grown up with a native knowledge of spices, coffee and honey.
A course at the Central Bee and Research Training Institute (CBTRI) in Pune, in 2006-07, equipped her with the knowledge and skills related to processing and preserving honey. And Nectar Fresh was born.
Honey is an important part of the culture in Coorg, where bees are kept and honey is cultivated throughout the dense forests.
Honey is collected directly from the source and filtered. It later undergoes moisture reduction and then again more filtration. It is then cooled and sent to settling tanks. Processed honey is meticulously tested for quality at the in-house laboratory. Initially the honey was processed and packaged for the pharmaceutical, ayurveda, and hospitality sectors. After serving solely as a supplier to other brands, Nectar Fresh began marketing honey and related products under its own label across India in 2007 as a womens’ self-help group.
Three years later, Nanjappa relocated the flourishing business to Mysore. Kuppanda Rajappa, a well-known businessman of Coorg origin, with considerable experience in management of plantations and retail sector joined the company as partner.
Nectar Fresh was initially sourcing honey only from Coorg. Today the company selectively sources raw honey from various honey-rich regions of India. The honey is now collected from forests, certified apiaries, tribal societies and small farmers.
It markets a variety of honeys like apiary honey, forest honey and among the ‘unifloral’ variety, Himachal honey, litchi honey and clover honey etc.