My office colleague and friend Juhi had been to her hometown - Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, a month back. She got back and gave me a special gift- a salwar suit material with Bagh print on it.
I am crazily fond of sarees and crafts work from India's heartland - the state of Madhya Pradesh. There is a special fondness I nurse for Chanderi and Maheshwari sarees. In a handlooms fair, which occurs at quite regular intervals in Bangalore, an unexplainable attractive force draws me to the outlet exhibiting Chanderi and Maheswari sarees. Their typical cotton cloth/salwar suits with vegetable dye based block prints on them in various colors offer the most comfortable and elegant wear during hot and humid Indian summers.
Thanks Juhi :) for this special gift. Below are two pictures of the Bagh print salwar kameez material she gifted me. I completely adore the bold paisley motifs on the cloth. (Paisley motifs - in the shape of a droplet are a regular pattern in Indian/Pakistani cotton cloth and even figure in mehandi designs)
The suit material is in black and olive green colors and I am terribly sorry for the poor picture quality - all that was possible from my Nokia 3110c phone, one can hardly make out the colors.
I swear to replace them soon with better pictures taken on Nikon DSC.
Stapled onto the dress material was a small note on Bagh Prints. Through this blog post, I want to share that information with one and all.
BAGH prints derive their name from the small town of Bagh in Dhar district of western Madhya Pradesh. The Bagh printers migrated from Sindh (now in Pakistan) over 1000 years ago due to unconducive environment and atrocities of rulers. Their art is deeply influenced by the Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti Aulia.
The process of Bagh printing is painstakingly tedious process; a single piece of cloth undergoes various transformations over25-30 days before it is finally ready for sale. Only natural material is used in the process. The fabric is treated by Khara method where it is soaked in Sanchora (raw sea salt) , non refined castor oil and goat dung, dried three times in succession. After the final drying, it is dipped into a solution of Baheda or Harada powder.
The red color for painting is made using seed of tamarind mixed with alum. The black color is prepared using iron filings and jaggery left together for 15-20 days. Printing is done with wood (Kor, Saaj, Kalam, Burra) blocks on cloth spread on tables. The cloth is dried for 15 days, washed in flowing river water and boiled in water mixed with Dhavadi flowers and roots of Aal tree in a copper vessel.
Next time you wear Bagh, spare a thought for the artisan whose infinite labour of love has caressed the fabric to perfection.
Apart from handloom fairs, fabrics with Bagh prints and sarees from Madhya Pradesh are available in the permanent state government owned handlooms outlet (Madhya Pradesh State Emporium) by the name - Mrignayanee, located in Kormangala BDA complex, Bangalore.
So when are you grabbing a Bagh print salwar material for yourself ?