Crafts, Handlooms, Art, Craftspersons/ Artisanal

Patwas: The Sutradhaar of Beads

Sunny and Meeta

The nadas (delicate rope which is threaded into the skirt and holds it in place) of ghaghras, the colorful parandis (rope like hair adornment pleated into the plait which ends in a colorful tassel), the pirona (tie) of necklaces, the "payals", the rakhis and hundreds of thread decorations of their beloved camel. Patwas of Rajasthan used to go village to village selling all of the above, repairing old jewelry when a thousand beads fell apart, threading them together again. Those delicate kardhinis or belts for children, for women to highlight their waistline, for men to tie on their dhoti as a fashion accessory. Mela (fair) to mela, mandir to mazaar, small or big, they went in groups setting up small stalls, laying out a small store of decorative treasures.
Later as machine made threads took over, cars took over camels, saris over ghaghras, they shifted to being the five rupee supermarket in the Jaipur district and probably all over Rajasthan (our experience is directly in Jaipur district). Patwas travel to Delhi in droves early morning, collecting at Sadar Bazaar where every morning a huge wholesale market takes place on the street- buying plastic toys, latest color of cheap nailpolish, tacky costume jewelry and kids clothes from Gandhi Market at Trans-Yamuna and by evening catch trucks on the Delhi Ahmedabad route to be back home by night. An animation designer visiting us in the village while we worked with printers discovered a Patwa u...
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