EP 194 . 23 Sep 20
As a tradition that began over 2500 years ago, India remains one of the world’s largest exporters of handmade carpets. In fact, I recently read somewhere about why Mahatma Gandhi decided to use Charkha as a symbol of independence. Because the Britishers invaded India for our textile capabilities, quality, and overall output. Gandhiji wanted to symbolize the freedom movement through one of the attributes of textiles – Charkha – But that’s a story for some other time.
For ages, until 1978, exports have often been exploited by middlemen, and – artisans were undervalued, most weavers stayed at the bottom of the pyramid with very meager income levels.
Nand Kishore Chaudhary recognized this inequality in the weaving market and created the company, Jaipur Rugs which offered employment opportunities in remote areas of India. Starting with only two looms, he was able to connect people and now has built a network of over 40,000 artisans spread over five Indian states, 80 percent of whom are women.
His daughter, Kavita Chaudhary steers the design and brand philosophy at Jaipur Rugs. Before joining the family business, she refined her aptitude for design by working with design houses in Chicago and New York.
Today we are here to understand the broad landscape of textile design in India at the backdrop of Jaipur Rugs, real design sensibilities of India, and a short but beautiful case study called Mancha ha.