Quoting a couplet of Sufi poet and saint Kabir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday highlighted how Indian textiles represent the rich “cultural diversity” of the country. The Prime Minister made the statement while inaugurating a three-day global textile and handicrafts event, Textiles India 2017, at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.
The event was attended by Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu, MoS Ajay Tamta, textiles secretary Anant Kumar Singh and a bevy of corporate leaders from India and abroad.
Highlighting how the textile industry was a key marker of India’s cultural diversity, Modi spoke about 15th century mystic poet Kabir whose writing influenced the Bhakti movement and recited his couplet Jhini jhini bini chadariya (the intricately woven blanket).
Modi said, “While attending the first ‘National Handloom Day’ event in Chennai two years ago, I met a weaver from Varanasi who gave me a stole… he may be present here today. It (the stole) had a popular couplet of Kabir Das handwoven. It goes like this, “Jhini jhini bini chadariya, kahe ke tana, kahe ke bharni, kaun taar se bini chadariya.
“Kabir himself used to weave cloth and dye it and was known to look for life’s truth through his work and expressed the same through his couplets. Clothing has close links to our cultural diversity and so many places and cities are well-known due to the textile industry they have. Be it silk from Kanchipuram, Varanasi and Assam or pashmina from Kashmir, muslin of Bengal, chikan work of Lucknow, handwoven ikkat work of Odisha and Telengana, Patan’s Patola from Gujarat or shawls from Kutch — from centuries these textile tradition have given an identity to these regions. You will never find this diversity in any other nation.”
In his address, the PM said that India today is described as “a bright spot” in the global economy and that it has become an attractive investment destination. The PM said the textile industry had been mentioned in ancient Indian texts and many world travellers, who visited India, also wrote paeans on its clothing and the country’s diversity and greatness.
The PM called for more innovation and research in the textile sector and a plan that would boost “export textiles”, and called for focus on organic products. “We should catalogue and map our clothing diversity and clearly earmark strengths and specialties of each state or region. Each state should appoint nodal officers dedicated to a few well-known products, who would facilitate producers and traders across the valuechain .Today, there is a demand for products with zero carbon footprint. Holistic lifestyle has become a buzzword. The market for organic dyes, clothes and fabrics made of organic products is growing. Our effort should be to innovate in organic products. I call upon you to come, invest and ‘Make Textiles in India’.”
The inaugural ceremony saw many corporate leaders hailing rolling out of GST as a “historic decision”. They included Richard Heald from UK India Business Council, Gautam Singhania, CMD of Raymond Group, David Cummings, president & CEO US Polo Assn, Sanjay Lalbhai, CMD of Arvind Ltd, and Kihak Sung, chairman of Korea Federation of Textile Industries (KOFOTI).