Uzramma and Suraiya Hasan Bose, the grand old ladies of Indian heritage weaves, believe the future is handloom

The Indian sari trended once again during the Dussehra weekend when, during the online promotions of his new movie Laxmmi Bomb, Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar urged that “everyone should try to wear a saree at least once”.

While young girls were having a hard time deciding if wearing one would give them the mobility to pose well for Insta selfies, New Delhi-based hoop-dance artist Eshna Kutty went ahead and rendered an incredibly energetic 2.15-minute performance in a casual handloom sari and a sleeveless top and garnered 2.1 million views on InstaReels.

Down south, in the Khada dupatta land of Hyderabad, Uzramma and Suraiya Hasan Bose, textile queens and the grand old ladies of Indian heritage weaves, who have done immense work in this line, believe the future is handloom.

Uzramma, the Hyderabad-based handloom revivalist known for creating malkha, a mix of malmal and khadi, believes that not just the sari but the entire textile sector will embrace handlooms in 2020. “Previously, handlooms were considered a soft and comfortable fabric.

Now, handlooms are worn for their cool quotient. Kutty’s video proves what a versatile thing the handloom sari is,” says the ‘Queen of Textiles’ on the trends she foresees next year. The video shows Kutty doing mild gymnastics over the hula hoop, yet the sari barely gives away.

There is a new movement in embracing pre-loved saris and clothes, especially on social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, which have also become shopping hubs. While this is great for ensuring we all use a fabric till the end of its lifetime, without discarding it before its due time, what do such buying trends mean to the weaver/textile store owner or retailer? Uzramma assures all will be well.

“Even if the movement is in full-force, handloom weavers have nothing to worry about as there will also be demand for replacements. Synthetics are losing their charm,” she says. With more emphasis on concepts such as sustainability and eco-friendly products on the rise, handlooms have come back to rule the market. States like Telangana have a ‘Handloom Monday’ that the state government has gently imposed on its government staff.

Hyderabad seems to have gotten lucky in being able to house another nationally renowned handloom revivalist, Suraiya Hasan Bose. Under her supervision, unique products such as durries with ikat and kalamkari prints, as well as Gadwal and Uppada saris, were created. Her dedicated work resurrected two near-extinct weaves—himru and mashru. Although Bose is currently under the weather and hasn’t been to work due to Covid-19, she has always believed that the Indian textile is on a revival mode.

Hyderabad is celebrated for its food and heritage, even pearls. But how many know that the taash fabric and the baadla (raw material) was being made in the city as early as 1840. The Textile Museum in Udaipur, which will open this year, is now creating a special catalogue and a section to celebrate the heirloom textiles of Hyderabad. Smita Singh and Jyoti Jasol have high praises for the country’s textile heritage. The duo has painstakingly researched about textiles of India and designers across the country are waiting for the museum to open to enable them to revisit the heirloom weaves. Perhaps it is safe to say that 2021 is going to be the Year of the Indian Textile.

“Previously, handlooms were considered a soft and comfortable fabric. Now, handlooms are worn for their cool quotient. Eshna Kutty’s video proves what a versatile thing the handloom sari is.” Uzramma