First Published, March 2008, Craft Revival Trust
First Published: Textile Forum (4/2003 December)
An earlier article described the edition of block-printing and dyeing textiles in the state of Gujarat in the west of India. The article gave an account of the history of the Khatris, a hereditary caste of dyers, and referred to the development of block-printing in the village of Dhamadka in Kachchh district. This second article focusing on the Khatris recounts their experiences since the destruction of their village by the earthquake that struck Gujarat in 2001.
The 26 January - 'Republic Day' - is celebrated annually throughout India to mark the day in 1948 when India officially shook off the last vestiges of the British Raj and declared herself a secular republic. The occasion, which is a national holiday, is marked by processions, flag-raising ceremonies, and parties in a show of national pride. Sadly, Republic Day is now permanently associated with India's most destructive earthquake to date. At 08.46 am. on 26 January 2001, Gujarat was hit by one of the most powerful earthquakes on record, which reached 7.9 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was the town of Bhachau in east Kachchh. In less than 45 seconds much of the district had been reduced to rubble and more than 25,000 people were subsequently reported as having lost their lives. Other parts of Gujarat were badly affected but it was the desert region of Kachchh that bore the brunt of the cataclysm. Dhamadka villag...