By Harsh Dubey & Jinendra Parekh
Bastar: Crossing all odds of Maoist hotbed and spreading the social harmony with displaying the tribal culture and art conservation District Administration of Baster has added another feather at its hat. The administration has conducted three days mega event Chitrakot Mahotsav’ aimed at the upliftment of Bastar and its tribal community.
The indigenous artisans and weavers devoted to the ancient art and fashion of the state’s culture will emerge only when cultural events are organised in such a way as to blend the mainstream consumers and art and textile connoisseurs with the traditional talents hidden in the remote suburbs like Bastar.
These talents and wonderful pieces of arts, which has been no less than a fashion statement in our tradition of textile history in Chhattisgarh and India, unless the government organises such events to foster arts and not individuals.The Chitrakot Mahotsav being one such 3-day event organised by the District Administration of Bastar from march 9 to 11 this year at Bastar. In Bastar Textiles and art of any regional culture serves as a medium to showcase the journey of the people of that region in their lives, events and occasions. The techniques of weaving, decorating and ornamentation of the regional textile and fashion, even in the terms of the material and forms remains in adherence even to this day in as pact of production as well.
Bastar region of Chhattisgarh has a very opulent history of textile, ornaments and metallurgical arts. The tribals who even though has started to be a part of the mainstream population, but as such are a community who admire secluded community-dwelling and maintain distinct identities which reflect in their attire and ornamentation. The Chhattisgarh State Government, under the aegis of the Bastar district administration, announced the celebration of a 3-day long festival, namely “The Chitrakot Mahotsav”. This festival has been earmarked to be centrally themed upon the Tribal Culture and the art of Chhattisgarh has emphasised upon the textile, handloom, apparels, jewellery and tribal fashion of Bastar by distinctively showcasing the same.
The Chitrakot Mahotsav is a real opportunity to create a cultural economy that will help millions of artisans to move away from menial jobs and petty business and return back to the skills which they have been handed down by their ancestors in the way of traditional handloom, ornamentation etc. and make a good profit out of their cultural asset. This is but one of the several ways in which the Bastar Administration is nurturing the creative arts and thereby helping to further strengthen Bastar’s tribal economy. Besides this utilitarian agenda the most elementary need is to connect these tribal artisans and producers to the mainstream consumers, and through such cultural festivals showcasing these pieces of art will surely give these articles a decent market with consumers to ensure the proper monetary value of these produces by the Bastar Tribals.
A unique fashion show was organised as the inaugural function on the first day of Chitrakot Mahotsav. This fashion show is aimed at promoting the local art and fashion for bringing the local handloom weavers and the indigenous fashion style of Tribal Culture into the mainstream. Under the ornamentation part, one of the most uncommon Bamboo jewellery is an eco-friendly alternative of apparel fashion that is devoid of any environmental hazard. Apart from bamboo jewellery, the ornaments made from the most famous Dhokra art, which is a copper alloy based metal casting with ‘lost-wax casting’ technique were also specially showcased among the fashion show apparels.
Rediscovering Colours of Nature in the Lost art of Bastar Pata and Kosa Silk Among the clothes showcased in the fashion show, the models were adorned only in the indigenous and traditional textile and clothing of Bastar with the famous Bastar Kosa silk used majorly along with the lost art of Bastar pata, The fashion show once again rejuvenated the lost trend of Bastar pata, which is a sari-like drape worn by the women of Muria and Maria community of the Bastar region. The most unique thing about Bastar pata is that this unbleached cotton-based woven cloth known as ‘phatai’ is made manually on pit looms. The process of weaving this traditional pata is known locally as ‘phatai bunana’.
Bastar remains the only area in Central India where Pata are woven using natural ‘aal dyed’ cotton yarn, which is dyed naturally using the roots of Indian Mulberry which produce Red, maroon and chocolate shades. Age and Gender no bar Fashion Show This event also conveyed a strong yet beautiful message of acceptance and harmonious co-existence. Bastar Administration’s Chitrakot Mahotsav is not only an encouragement for the local artists of the region but also a gesture of acceptance and breaking boundaries of racial and gender-based discrimination. Among the total 21 participants from all age groups starting from 7-year-old children to 25-year-old youngsters, wherein there were 15 girls and 3 boys, unique participation of 3 individuals from the Transgender community was also seen which is a great step towards social harmony.
According to Riya Singh Parihar who represents the Jagdalpur transgender community and participated in the Chitrakot Mahotsav fashion Show as a model on the ramp, feels really elated to be a part of the fashion world and showcase the wonderful indigenous Bastar tribal textile and jewellery and also is thankful to the Bastar Administration which provided the stranded Transgender community who are the very part of the Indian Society, to participate in this prestigious event without any discrimination.
Riya and all such countless people who aspire for the world of fashion are seeing this event as a unique initiative and are looking forward to the same in coming years as well. Chitrakot Mahotsav has not only promoted and take their work to the mainstream but also has provided a platform and market to the handwoven textile and handloom art of Bastar. This unique event for Chhattisgarh under the aegis of Bastar administration is special in itself, by promoting the art and culture of Bastar on the National level with the message of harmony and co-existence, which is being appreciated by the people because if we lose our weavers and artisans, even millions of modern infrastructure and trillions worth of economic growth will fail to make us whole again