He weaves not just silk but words too. Much like Kabir, he does poetry while he weaves and finds inspiration for his words from the weave and waft.
Moharram Ali, alias Hasham Turabi, is one of the weavers who dwell and earn his livelihood weaving silk and shaping sophisticated Banarasi sarees in the congested lanes of Varanasi.
Unlike other weavers, he takes time out and participates in mushairas, majlis and poetry gatherings. His poems are as exquisite as his brocades. Like other weavers, he has never been to a school for formal education.
What makes him furthermore different from others is that he owns the patent of a mini handloom he built over a year ago and is the winner of National Award for Commercializable Patents 2014 organised by Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
Feather in the cap
The portable handloom developed by him can be easily carried from one place to another in a 12-inch box. Government also granted patent (number 255485) to this product in February 2013.
Realising the difficulties faced by a weaver while working on a conventional handloom, he decided to make a handloom which is easy to handle and reduces the waste of silk and other raw material, one of the main problems faced by weavers.
“Weavers are fading out due to lack of recognition. Everyone is switching to powerlooms. It is good to some extent, but the real art of weaving lies in the handlooms. Obviously, it pays less and has become obsolete but I could not bear to see the art dying,” says Ali. “This handloom might revamp the art of weaving as it is easy to use unlike the conventional handlooms and can be conveniently used to weave stoles, scarves and other silk products. It might also encourage women who are so far not involved in handloom weaving,” adds Ali.
Unlike his mini handloom, the conventional handlooms are fixed in the weaver’s home by making a pit where the weaver keeps his legs and operates the handloom.
Loom and the verse
Having received no formal education, Hasham has published his first book of engaging ghazals – ‘Kahkashan’ in 2002. While many of his compilations are under publication, he contributes Urdu poems in magazines and newspapers whenever he wants.
“One of the best moments of my life was when I received NCERT award from Gulzar in 2000”, he shares.
Hasham keeps writing on general issues. An extremely sensitive man, he is easily moved by his surroundings. Taking inspiration from Kabir, he has been writing on the strength of the pen, the weave, and plight of weavers.
“I have travelled south and most of North India singing my verses. During the majlis and mushairas, I never forget the weave and waft”, he signs off.
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