History is created by the forces of change and continuity working in their myriad ways. And at Bhujodi, a small village in Kutchch, history has been created and preserved for more than 5 centuries by the weavers, the Vankars, who have nurtured weaving into an art form in Kutchch.
Like all art forms, this not just a practice, it is life’s devotion for the 200 odd Vankars in Bhujodi, and their brotherhood of weavers spread around in a few villages of Kutchch. And like all art forms, it has evolved in its own way, with time and technology, mostly with the former than the latter. So, the local wool and cotton used traditionally has expanded to include silk and acrylic, along with wool and cotton from far off places by the interplay between the demand of markets, supply of materials and modern transportation technology as also competition from the outside world (read machines).
But like the threads of time, held together by generations of these artists, the soul of their art, the true form of their weaving has been held together by their age old traditions, their household looms and their inherent devotion to this art that runs through their bloodlines.
The deep colors and motifs, and the richness of tradition and craftsmanship blend in each of their creations, and if you are sensitive enough, you may even feel the touch of the hands, and the hum of loom, maybe the music of the background would make its way through to you too, along with the echoes of centuries of lifestyle, the proverbial grains of time, all woven intricately, exquisitely, into the shawl or the scarf or the pagdi (whose longevity is rumored to be beyond 50 years, by the way) that emanated from this pocket where history is nothing but a witness to their traditions and art.
By Bikirna Roy