National Handloom Day is celebrated on the 7th of August annually in India. It is observed to create awareness about the importance of the textile industry in the economy. It began as an initiative to honour and provide work to handloom weavers and artisans. 7th August was declared as National Handloom Day by the Union Government in 2015 to generate awareness about the industry and its social importance. The day is celebrated through different functions and events across the country. Workshops are conducted to spread information about work opportunities among weavers and their families. Handloom fairs, exhibitions, parades, panels take place during various events.Through the celebrations of this day, handloom products get a wide recognition.
Handlooms have gradually emerged as the largest cottage industry. Almost 95% of the world’s handicrafts are from India. Weavers create from different natural fibres like cotton, silk and wool.While we celebrate the diversity of India’s art and crafts, its also important to address the problems and needs of the artisans. They should be provided with the knowledge of techniques, prices, and modern technology.
Different schemes like Reservation of Articles for Production Act of 1985 and Handloom Census have been introduced so that artisans can benefit from them. Social media campaigns like #iwearhandloom have popularized the craft in recent times to an extent. These crafts should be included in contemporary industries so that younger generations can know about them and start supporting the cottage industries.
August 7 was declared as the Handloom day in 2015 to revive the roots of handloom and to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which began on the same day 115 years back. The first National Handloom Day was inaugurated on 7 August 2015 at the Centenary Hall of Madras University in Chennai. The movement was launched in Calcutta Town Hall on August 7, 1905 as a protest against the Bengal Partition by the British Government. The movement was started to facilitate the use of domestic products and production of goods within the country for boycotting British goods. There were also instances of burning British goods. When Lord Curzon announced the partition of Bengal in July 1905, the Indian National Congress started the movement. It led to the spread of revolutionary anti colonial and anti British movements across the country. Further movements like the Non Cooperation movement and the Satyagraha movement developed from the Swadeshi movement.
In recent times, the day is celebrated to spread awareness and develop consciousness of the public regarding textiles and the handloom industry which is extremely important for the socio economic development of the country. Handlooms and crafts empower artisans and represent the diverse cultural identities present in the country. They are eco-friendly and sustainable crafts which also function as the livelihood of so many people.
Celebrations this year
This year is the 6th National Handloom Day and the day will be celebrated through a virtual programme which will be conducted by the Union Ministry of Textiles. The textile minister Smriti Irani will be the chief guest for the event. The event will be observed with all the handloom clusters across India, 16 NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) campuses, 24 Weaver Service Centres of different states and National Handloom Development Corporation.