Cotton Cloth As Continuity

Advocacy, Crafts, Handlooms, Art, Policy, Sustainability, Sustainable Devt.

Cotton Cloth As Continuity: The Power of Handloom


Do you remember the fairy tale of the emperor’s new clothes?: Long long ago there was once a country that made the best cloth in the world, in vast quantities, enough of it to clothe everyone in the country,  with enough left over to send to many other countries. The other countries paid for that cloth in gold and silver, making the weaving country one of the richest in the world. The kings of that country wore fancy versions of that cloth, the poor people of that country wore plain versions of the same. All the people, the milkmaids and shepherds, the merchants and governors, the farmers and townsmen, all wore versions of the cloth specially made for them. One day some clever swindlers came to that country and sought an audience with the emperor. Your majesty, they said, the clothes you wear are not good enough for you. How can you wear the same as what the fishermen and farmers of your country wear? Not only that, there are so many different kinds of cloth made in your country that it is confusing.  The cloth made in your country lasts for too long, it is too soft and too comfortable. Don’t you know that the world is changing and now things made by machine are the fashion. Cloth made by machine wears out much sooner, it is not as soft, mass produced cloth is the same everywhere, so everyone looks alike, it may be boring, but this is modernity. The fantastic thing about this new way of making cloth, they said, is that it is highly profitable for the owners of the machines. It’s silly to make cloth on simple wooden looms in your villages, from a bewildering variety...
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