On a cold January evening, a host of political leaders, government officials, entrepreneurs and artisans got together at the newly refurbished Red Fort complex, not for any political event but to celebrate the artisans of India from the ramparts of the historic monument.
The Ministry of Textiles organised ‘Artisan Speak’ on Saturday, an event to showcase India’s textiles and honour the people behind the loom, at Red Fort’s Sawan Pavilion, with the stunning Zafar Mahal forming the backdrop.
Union Minister for Textiles, Smriti Z Irani, presented Special Recognition Awards to seven individuals and an organisation for their contribution to the textile sector, while also honouring 13 master artisans for their work in the handloom industry. These weavers — six Padma Shri awardees and seven Sant Kabir awardees — included Ramkishore Chippa from Rajasthan, an expert in Bagru and dabu hand blockprinting, Gajam Anjaiah from Andhra, who weaves Ikat and Kota saris, and Langpoklakpam Subadani Devi from Manipur, known for her work in art weaving.
Irani called the event “historic” as it brought together weavers and fashion designers on a single platform. Raghvendra Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, added, “While planning an event of this scale at Red Fort, we kept the sensitivity of the monument in mind. The event marks the beginning of an outreach programme by the Ministry towards the artisans, by linking them with the verticals of big garment manufacturers.” A similar programme was organised at Kolkata’s historic Old Currency Building on Monday evening, while the Ministry also plans to hold such events in other parts of the country.