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Woven Textiles of Varanasi

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:One of the strongest and best known traditions of weaving in India is situated in Varanasi. It has had a tumultuous history of ups and downs but has steadfastly refused to be obliterated. Many cities have risen and fallen, but Varanasi clings to its title as the oldest living city in the world. The River Ganga flows by, offering a sense of sacredness, continuity and eternal salvation for those whose last ritesare performed on its banks. Hundreds of thousands of visitors touch upon Varanasi as a place of pilgrimage, to connect with history or to get under the skin of India's spirituality. Against this backdrop, the author, Jaya Jaitly, emphasises the need to acknowledge the beauty of Varanasi's textiles emerging out of age-old traditions and techniques. She highlights the danger of the loss of livelihoods and highly sophisticated skills. The erosion of identity and importance in the wake of machine-made imitations being produced in other parts of the world has already begun. The book also presents a significantly curated cross - section of the textile treasures offered by Varanasi. She combines the past and the present, linking them to different moments in the city's history, and makes a powerful case for rediscovering, preserving and patronizing these textile treasures that are inextricably bound to the ancient aura of the city.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

:Jaya Jaitly studied in Japan, Burma, Belgium, and the UK graduated from Smith College, USA. She has an intimate knowledge of the craft traditions of the country having worked in the field for over 40 years. She is considered a leader and expert in this field. In 1986 she founded an association of crafts people called the Dastkari Haat Samiti, which enables traditional workers to gain confidence in the marketplace through many innovative strategies. She is the creator of the concept of Dilli Haat, a crafts marketplace in Delhi. It enables thousands of artisans to sustain their livelihoods and preserve their cultural heritage. She is a prolific writer and has published books on the Crafts of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, the Craft Traditions of India, Viswakarma's Children, a socioeconomic study of crafts people, and Crafting Nature. She has created a vast documentation of the arts, crafts and textiles of India through 24 highly artistic and unique maps of all the states of India, called Crafts Atlas of India. She has written stories on crafts children that were first published by Penguin and now widely distributed in many regional languages through the well-known NGO Pratham. She has assisted in creating a syllabus for schools of India’s craft heritage for NCERT. Her recent publication Crafting Indian Scripts is based on a major project called Akshara combining literacy, craft and calligraphy. A Podium on the Pavement is a selection of her writings on a variety of subjects including politics, foreign affairs, women and social issues. She is also the editor and Publisher of The OtherSide, a political monthly journal of democratic socialist thought and action.

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