By Kshiteeja Tomar
Dressed in her wedding dress, my old Mayi lay with her eyes shut. The bright red Rogan ghaagra was tailored by her old Baba for her, while my father adorned his own Rogan saafa. This cloth had been their ancestors’ livelihood for ages, but now it lay there, perishing as the years passed by.
The Historic Conqueror
Four hundred years ago, when there was no definite mode of transport, toured a style of textile printing called Rogan. On a camel, it travelled from Persia’s forgotten sands into the long lands of Kutch. Soon after its arrival, Rogan conquered Kutch’s textile market and replaced the heavy not-so-affordable embroidered garments for a very long time.
Into the making
They say that the pen is mightier than the sword. Proof: Rogan. This piece of art is created by using an iron pen which bleeds different colors to produce a design. After the design is made, it is compressed over another piece of fabric to create a twin of the original.
Deserted by the deserts
After being the champ for centuries, Rogan started experiencing troubles in paradise. The textile which occupied the threshold of our houses (as traditional torans) using coloured geometrical shapes and heavy floral designs was abandoned by the taxpayers. The only people that never gave up on it were the Muslim Khatris of the Nirona district of Kutch. These people have been with their hero through thick and thin for the past eight generations. And Rogan, being faithful gem it is, helped them earn a few National Awards in return.
Old is Gold (and should be sold)
This dying form of art needs treatment and the only way it can get that is by finding its way into the wardrobe of the youth.
Here are some ways to save this old champ…
Introducing Rogan to the western clothing:
Rogan artefacts can be put up as wall hangings. And no, since it’s not dead yet, you don’t need to put flower garlands over it.
Following the Prime Minister’s steps:
Remember how Narendra Modi tried to woo Barack Obama by gifting him a rare piece of Rogan printed fabric? Okay, let’s be clear, living in India, the only way to can feel closer to the White House is by getting yourself a beautiful piece of Rogan textile.
Rogan and many other such crafts of Indian origin are invaluable, but getting lost in the fast-paced impatient world. It’s an appeal from ED to the readers, to please follow the Make In India concept by rejuvenating the local beauties.
Let us know in the comments section if some art form of your vicinity is dying too, but must be saved!
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.