Cause for Celebration

The announcement of National Handloom Day calls for celebration. Any initiative which brings attention to things handwoven, is to be welcomed. Handwoven textiles feel much nicer and possess a certain kind of indescribable beauty. They are a luxury in that a skilled artisan’s attention was focused solely on making it. They are the result of incredible synchronisation of hand and mind. Think of a handloom sari as wearable high art. And then there are macro reasons to celebrate handlooms.

That weaving as a craft has been practiced in India for 5000 years. That historically Indian handwoven textiles were considered to be the finest in the world. That they were in high demand and often sold in exchange with gold, silver and precious gemstones. That 95% of the world’s handwoven fabric comes from India. That it is one of the most sustainable forms of self-employment.

Therefore, the launch of the first National Handloom Day on 7th August, 2015, by prime minister Shri Narendra Modi is an event of great importance especially for those who care for handmade products. Symbolically, the date has been chosen due to its significance in India’s history; the Swadeshi Movement was launched on this day in 1905.

As you know, Sarangi, the Kanjivaram sari store, deals only in handwoven fabrics and nothing else. Therefore, this announcement brings great joy to us – our artisans and staff. I encourage you to make the time and watch the event webcast at We hope that you will share the spirit of India’s handwovens and join the celebrations. Please pass on this message to your friends who may be interested.

Best wishes and thanks,
Prabodh Jain
Director of Design, Founder
Sarangi, the Kanjivaram sari store

Handlooms and British Colonialism

Shashi Tharoor, currently Lok Sabha MP, speaks about the finest of textiles produced by Indian handloom weavers during the British rule.

Shashi Tharoor Oxford Union Society Speech

Speaking at an Oxford Union Society debate about whether Britain owed reparations to India or not he said: “Britain’s Industrial Revolution was built on the de-industrialisation of India – the destruction of Indian textiles and their replacement by manufacturing in England, using Indian raw material and exporting the finished products back to India and the rest of the world. The handloom weavers of Bengal had produced and exported some of the world’s most desirable fabrics, especially cheap but fine muslins, some light as “woven air”. Britain’s response was to cut off the thumbs of Bengali weavers, break their looms and impose duties and tariffs on Indian cloth, while flooding India and the world with cheaper fabric from the new satanic steam mills of Britain. Weavers became beggars, manufacturing collapsed; the population of Dhaka, which was once the great centre of muslin production, fell by 90%. So instead of a great exporter of finished products, India became an importer of British ones, while its share of world exports fell from 27% to 2%.”

Handloom weaving was an important part of India’s economy and one of the key factors influencing British attitudes to colonial India.

Watch the video here: Though the entire speech is worth listening to the portion between 1.34 and 2.30 minutes is specially relevant to those who care about India’s handloom weaving traditions.