Maharani Radhikaraje Gaekwad of Baroda comes to the rescue of weavers of beautiful Maheshwari sarees originate from the ancient town of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh.
She mentioned in a recent post about crores of sarees stock still unsold due to the cancellation of orders and lack of sales. She asked for help to save this historical textile and give dignity to the weavers engaged in designing this wonderful piece of art for years.
Maheshwari saree as the name suggest comes from Maheshwar city situated on the banks of Narmada in Madhya Pradesh. The city was the capital of Malwas during Maratha Holkar reign and with their encouragement Maheshwari saree came into existence. As per saying, Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar had a special team of craftsmen to design the nine yard saree that could be gifted to guests and relatives visited the palace.
Since then the graceful sarees started to become popular and now is one of the best in national and international markets. After the decline post Independence the Holkars founded Rehwa society to revive the dying art. They are providing employment to the local women and also saving the ancient craft. More than 100 weavers are engaged and produce the fine fabric every year and try to sustain the art. With the help of government and various schemes the artists are passing on the knowledge to next generation and try to keep this art alive.
Sanjivani Rajput – Founder, styletriggers.com shared her experience about the condition of the weavers during her visit to Maheshwar. She says, working in this field from March 2019 they are a dedicated platform for handcrafted apparel and accessories. After getting connected with different artisans, they came to know about deteriorating conditions of weaving industry to decided to invest in them as their part and try to get this artisans the right audience they deserve.
Sanjivani got to know about the situation these weavers are facing due to COVID-19 and decided to purchase from them and market it with weavers name as it will help weaver getting due credits for his efforts and people can know who made their saree. She visited Maheshwar in the first week of September to get an idea about the stock weavers have and how they can help them. After getting to know about the financial crisis these weavers were facing, they decided to buy sarees from them and market it on their platform and conduct an exhibition to display them offline. They planned an exhibition with the name “Suta by Style Triggers” in aurangabad from the date 28th Oct 2020 to 1st Nov 2020 at Hotel Keys, Aurangabad.
“We did purchased sarees from weaver Nasir Ansari, who was very happy to know that we are buying his work. His whole family greeted us, showed us their work and explained to us how desperately they need help to survive in this challenging time. Then after we visited women weaves, an organization operated by Sally Holkar, where Ms. Nivedita introduced us to few local weavers and after seeing there work we purchased sarees from weavers Husnuddin Ansari, Sahil Ansari, Juber Khan and many more others. In total we purchased handwoven sarees worth Rs. 1800000/- ( Eighteen lakhs) with a promise to come back and make regular purchase from these weavers to help them in any way possible to revive this art of handwoven maheshwari saree,” said Sanjivani.
She further added that the exhibition in aurangabad got another setback as due to COVID-19 as they got very few visitors and were able to sell only fraction of the stock we purchased. However, they are still trying to get people know about these weavers and displaying their products online and trying to get sells.
“We have a goal to get weavers market they deserve and every saree we sell has the name tag of weaver who made it, so that if person visits Maheshwari they can visit them and buy the products directly from weavers. We are struggling now but will succeed very soon” said Sanjivani Rajput.
The initiative taken by Maharani of Baroda is widely appreciated on social media and art lovers are coming forward for help. Connect Gujarat also wish to extend their help to revive the ancient art and weavers connected to it.