Six yards of glory
FOR THE past couple of days, the Aga Khan Hall in New Delhi has played host to an exhibition of India's unique heritage, its one perennial fashion statement that has never yet been anything but a la mode in its 5000-year history.
Organised by the Delhi Crafts Council (DCC), Saree-2004 is into it's fifth year, an the exhibition that aims to promote and encourage the uniqueness of tradition in modern times and attempts to bring to light the abundant heritage of handwork by 25 different weaver communities of the country.
The exhibition, which closes this Saturday, was flagged off earlier in the week by celebrities like the famous Bharatanatyam dancer Geeta Chandran, jewellery designer Alpana Gujral, interior designer Sunita Kohli and others.
Laying emphasis on promoting the sari, a source of livelihood for over 10 million weaver families, the idea is to point out to urban buyers that the sari isn't merely an outfit for the so-called obedient bahus who stay home and don't do any substantial work.
In the words of Laila Tyabji, Chairperson, Dastakar, a society for crafts and crafts people, "It can make Mandira Bedi look simply sensuous and Sonia Gandhi dignified and determined."
Bridging the gap
Among the issues thrown up by the exhibition are the challenge of bridging the gap between rural craftsmen and urban buyers and the importance of support organisations like the Delhi Crafts Council and Dastkar, who not only bring buyers and craftsmen together by organising fairs and bazars but also provide scholarships to promising child craftspersons.
Says Rita Kapoor, author of "Saris of India" that features over 100 distinct styles of wearing the sari in 12 States, "The mistake of comparing ourselves with others is the prime reason for our cultural downfall. Prominent soft and smooth look dominates the society and rich texture is fast becoming a thing of the past. Sari as a wardrobe offers a lot of flexibility, while wearing it or not is a matter subjected to personal choice."
The major focus of the event is on educating the masses about the different styles of wearing the sari, which is the uniqueness of the fabric.
DCC is trying to promote the message that we need to stick to our basics, produce as many textures as we can and not to be disillusioned by hi tech lure that can just produce quantity and not quality.
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