|Varsha Joshi, 1995 batch IAS sporting a handwoven sari|
REACTING to a trend #IWearHandloom that took social media by storm on Monday, a number of civil servants including Ambassador of India to UNESCO Ruchira Kamboj, joint secretary ranked IAS officers Sumita Misra, Abhishek Singh, Varsha Joshi, Usha Padhee etc., NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, former IFS Nirupama Rao, former IPS Kiran Bedi et al have shared their own photos sporting beautiful handwoven dresses in micro-blogging site Twitter in the last couple of days. The trend began when union textile minister Smriti Irani shared her own photo wearing a blue handloom sari with an appeal for others also to wear…handloom products so to carry on India’s rich tradition and also support 43 lakh weavers and their families. Among those who reacted to the appeal were civil servants who happily posted their photos with handloom products along with crisp comments. “Do #IWearHandloom ? Of course I do! If you do, do post a pic! A great excuse for a little vanity”, writes Varsha Joshi, 1995 batch IAS and joint secretary in the ministry of new and renewable energy, after posting her photo in Twitter.
Principal secretary, tourism in the government of Haryana — Sumita Misra posted her photo with blue bordered sari saying: “Bhagalpuri silk. Now motivated to drape my chanderi, odiya, taant et al! Thanks @TexMinIndia & @smritiirani. Women in @IAS”. India’s ambassador to UNESCO and 1987 batch IFS officer posted her photo with a white handwoven sari, calling for a “tiny revolution” in handloom sector. “Not a tiny revolution. It is tied to the history of our freedom movement and our ancient and living civilisation”, reacts former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, meaning it’s time for a bigger handloom revolution. Rao posted a photo with her little grand-daughter with this caption: “In the family. #IWearHandloom My granddaughter too!”
Former IPS officer of 1972 batch and Lt Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi also posted her photo while wearing handloom, saying: “I support Indian weavers. Here's my #IWearHandloom look.”
Yes, women civil servants seem to be more excited by this innovative campaign to promote handloom, but men in the corridors are not lagging behind either. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant posted his photo wearing a handwoven jacket with a caption saying he is proud to wear that handwoven jacket. Then, 1995 batch IAS currently working in Food Corporation of India — Abhishek Singh shared a photo of him with his children where he is seen wearing a green handwoven kurta.
According to data available with government-supported India Brand Equity Foundation, there are 2.4 million looms of varied designs and sizes in India, with a total handloom products exports being USD 368 million in 2014-15. The USA is the lead importer of Indian handloom products, followed by UK and Germany.