S1 E11 - “Balucharis: The woven narrative Silks of Bengal”

Episode 11: “Balucharis: The woven narrative Silks of Bengal”

“It was exquisite they say,
This flower-patterned sari of mine,
With its large kalka and sepoy borders,
I weep for its loss.”
Dashrathi Roy’s (1806-57) verse speaks of a gopika’s mournful lament on the loss of her beautiful sari after a passionate tryst with Krishna. The motifs described refer to the Baluchari and the lament of loss is sadly one that resonates to date.

अबnoरmal proudly presents “Touring Talkies”
Season 1 “Kanyakumari se Kashmir tak - Ek Sari-torial Safar”.

This weekend our Sari-torial Safar takes us on on a voyage of Bengal. A sari voyager’s delight it will take several episodes to appreciate the rich textile tradition, culture & history of Bengal. This weekend our focus is on Baluchari (the term refers to Baluchar,Murshidabad where it originated from).

Our Guest Speaker is
Darshan Shah from Weavers Studio Kolkatta a textile entrepreneur who chanced upon the business of textiles 28 years ago. A passion for textiles by accident borne out of necessity led to a lot of learning, research, teaching & a lot more; her mission is “Use as many hands as possible”. Her “Baluchari” project attempted to draw attention to the various creative, technical and social aspects associated with this narrative textile and was accompanied by revival efforts in collaboration with the Govt of West Bengal.

Hear her hold forth on how her endeavors to put together a trousseau for her daughter led her into a voyage of discovery on the Baluchari trail.

See her share rare footage of the bygone rich weaves with their gorgeous textures, patterns and motifs of Sahib, Bibi and Nawabs seen only in museums and in antique personal collections from her research archives.

And, see how what is commonly available today as Balucharis is a travesty of the past textile; with gaudy and garish motifs replete with popular scenes from Mahabharata, Ramayana and Shakuntala on shiny silk; a far cry from the original weaves.

Please sit back & enjoy the video we have filmed.

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Baluchari pics & videos courtesy Weavers Studio
Video edit courtesy @kk_fotography

This video and its contents are the copyright of अबnoरmal (ABnormal) and Kamala Raman Iyer. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is strictly prohibited.

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