Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Francis Carnac Brown, British cotton planter in Malabar, testifying before a Parliamentary Committee in 1846 says "The story of cotton in India is not half told, how it was systematically depressed from the earliest date that American cotton came into competition with it about the year 1786, how for 40 or 50 years thereafter one half of the crop was taken in kind as revenue, the other half by the sovereign merchant at a price much below the market price of the day which was habitually kept down for the purpose, how the cotton farmer's plough and bullock were taxed, the Churkha taxed, the bow taxed and the loom taxed, how inland custom houses were posted in and around every village on passing which cotton on its way to the Coast was like every other produce taxed afresh; how it paid export duty both in a raw state and in every shape of yarn, of thread, cloth or handkerchief, in which it was possible to manufacture it; how the dyer was taxed and the dyed cloth taxed, plain in the loom, taxed a second time in the dye vats, how Indian piece goods were loaded in England with a prohibitory duty and English piece goods were imported into India at an ad valorem duty of 2 1/2 per cent. It is my firm conviction that the same treatment would have long since converted any of the finest countries in Europe into wilderness. But the Sun has continued to give forth to India its vast vivifying rays, the Heavens to pour down upon the vast surface its tropical rains. These perennial gifts of the Universal Father it has not been possible to tax."

Revenue & taxes were levied by the East India Company.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mayank's clothes are really nice, simple & classic with beautiful detailing. Besides the malkha ...shirts? Kurtas? in the show he also has one made from naturally coloured cotton... to dye for, excuse the pun. Taamara also has lovely leather from Bengal, with new designs of hand bags and chappals in the traditional stamping & colouring technique, a specialty of Bengal.

Meanwhile we're facing hurdles in matching malkha production to orders. While there's a long waiting list for the indigo, there have been problems in getting the yarn to the dyers and getting it back to the weaving centres. But there's plenty of the kora coming in as the new units step up their production. And Satish's new dented stripe design has begun to come off the looms, will be first shown at the Sampoorn exhibtion in Bangalore in June.

May 12: Just added 2 pics of Mayank's malkha kurtas, taken during the show by the cameraman from a local mag, You & I

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mayank tells us that there's a new store in Hyderabad called Taamara, which is holding s small preview of his work this week-end, including 3 malkha garments.

Meanwhile Ipshita Maitra is developing the story idea for the film, and one of Mayank's colleagues, Peter, is planning a shoot of his garments in malkha production centres.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Delhi Crafts Council is working towards an exhibition of finished products in malkha for household & furnishing, with different traditional artisanal work on malkha. They held a workshop with the Sirali group in Jharkhand recently and came up with these lovely cushion covers.
The last picture is of one of the Sirali group during the workshop.