In a celebration that intertwines art, culture, and history, the Ministry of Textiles is honouring traditional handloom artisans as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav — a celebration of India’s 75 years of Independence. The celebration on National Handloom Day serves as evidence of the government’s dedication to safeguarding and strengthening the rich tradition of handloom workmanship in the country.
India, being an incredibly diverse nation, naturally provides a rich breeding ground for indigenous crafts and diverse handlooms, with each region boasting a flourishing cultural heritage. Synonymous with West Bengal – the tant saree is representative of the finest and most ancient weaving technique that originated in Bengal in the 15th century. The art continued to flourish during the Mughal rule, from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Phulia, close to Shantipur is the home for the weavers of the tant saree.
The quintessential six-yard tant sari is distinguished by its thick two-to-four-inch border and adorned with a decorative pallu. Crafted using fine cotton yarn, these saris feature an array of floral, paisley, and artistic motifs, with each sari taking 7-10 days to meticulously come to life. In the Phulia region, weavers have combined the weaving styles of the original Shantipur weavers and the migrant weavers from Tangail and have developed the “Phulia Tangail” style of weaving which produces among the best quality tant sarees today.
Phulia also serves as the enchanting backdrop for the vibrant Phulia-Tangail Cluster which is visited by NIFT Kolkata students year on year. The Ministry of Textiles, in collaboration with NIFT, recognised the immense talent and potential of the NIFT students in contributing to further strengthening India’s handloom legacy. As a part of their cluster initiative programme, NIFT students engaged with the local artisans in the Phulia Cluster. Under the guidance of skilled artisans, they witnessed the meticulous craftsmanship, experiencing the essence of this timeless art form first-hand.
As we approach National Handloom Day, the Ministry of Textiles celebrates the ingenuity and creativity of not only the tant weavers but also the NIFT students, who have become torchbearers in illuminating India’s handloom legacy at the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’s Phulia cluster. Their dedication and passion for preserving traditional crafts complement the government’s vision of fostering self-reliance and empowering local artisans.
The Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav pays a fitting tribute to the skilled artisans and NIFT students, reinforcing India’s commitment to nurturing its invaluable handloom legacy and weaving a resplendent tapestry of tradition and modernity.