2nd October : Sustainabilty | Self Reliance | Slow Fashion

Today as we remember two great souls of our nation ; Mahatma Gandhi (http://www.mkgandhi.org/articles/gideatocombatglobali.htm) and Lal Bahadur Shastri (http://pmindia.gov.in/en/former_pm/shri-lal-bahadur-shastri/); we can still feel the resonance of the ideologies, they gave years back. Be it Swadeshi, Self Reliance through Harit Kranti, Khadi “a task in which charkha will have the crucial role of spinning the yarn, which will be used further by the handloom weavers to produce entirely hand-made cloth, called khadi or khaddar (hard-spun, hand-woven cloth).” or for that matter progressive sustainable futures.

When an Indian mill-owner heard of Gandhi’s efforts, he called upon him to convince him that the best way of reducing dependence on imports was to establish more Indian mills.
“I am not doing exactly that,” Gandhi replied “but I am engaged in the revival of the spinning wheel.”
“What is that?”—the mill-owner asked, feeling still more at sea.
After explaining his work to him, Gandhi concluded: “I swear by this form of Swadeshi, because through it I can provide work to the semi-starved semi-employed women of India. My idea is to get these women to spin yarn, and to clothe the people of India with khadi woven out of it.” (http://www.mkgandhi.org/articles/gideatocombatglobali.htm)

The term Slow Fashion which has created a stir in the fashion industry ; was unknowingly the  Indian lifestyle in pre independence era.

Today we cant stop ourselves from writing about Nani (Grandmother) , the  inspiration , the strength and the lifeline of Blue Madder. She has been the axis of a large family ( read 150 members). The family which was totally dependent on the land , the rains and the labour they put in, to feed the mouths. In the fields, women folk   participated equally  as their counterparts and at home they took the total charge. Needless to say , they were the arduous lot and Nani being the eldest the leader.

Nani while during her daily spinning ritual, with her 60 years old ‘Charkha’.

Women also took great care of the resources available around them, be it water, flora or fauna. They were true followers of Shatriji’s  ideology of self reliance. Ghandiji always believed that we as a nation should not be dependent on anybody for our needs and so did Nani. She was the metaphor in creating an eco system where dependency on outer factors was negligible. Right from food to footwear and clothes to  thatched roofs everything was done by hands. The model was designed in a way to generate livelihoods at maximum touch points. The community worked in total harmony where everybody’s role was defined.

Another major Gandhian attribute that they religiously followed was spinning. Inseparable part of their  daily chores.In other terms they were practicing sustainable slow fashion way back. They used hand spun and hand woven fabric which was then hand stitched to make garments.There slow fashion was a unified representation of sustainable, eco, green and ethical fashion. This eco system of spinning and weaving  was the spine of sustainable economy and inter dependency rather than intra dependency.

Sharing her learning with younger generation.
Hand woven blankets made out of ‘Nani’ hand-spun wool.
‘Nani’ gave her colourful personal touch to this beautiful hand woven woolen skirt made with her hand spun wool, she is creating master pieces for her grand children, while making sustainable slow fashion garments.

Now years later , when we turn back and see, this eco system is no where to be found. A void can be sensed when for every single task we are  dangerously dependent on outer forces.This void is the driving force of Blue Madder.

Blue Madder is  re- building the same sustainable and self reliant eco system in western Rajasthan.

Tribute to our Mentor Mr. M.P. Ranjan

What a melancholy…….. Just two days back we mentioned you on our first blog and today you are not with us. Mr. M.P. Ranjan, a inspiring design thinker, a philosopher, a writer, a mentor, a teacher. His contribution to Design as a discipline, in India, is monumental; both from strategy & system point of view.

Ranjan at his best, photo via Vijay Kumar.

You always inspired & motivated us for our entrepreneurial journey with your relentless support as mentor. Your visionary guidance helped us executing the idea of system level change for revival of wool culture.

“It is great to see that you are passionately involved in what you were deeply interested in and that can be very satisfying indeed, especially when results start showing up.” (Quote from recent e mail exchanged with Mr. M. P. Ranjan)

Your directions to share the information & learning democratically & making it accessible for everybody will always be followed at Blue Madder. We owe our blog to YOU.

“Yes, do keep me posted on your explorations and I will be interested to know the details as they unfold. If you can get into the habit of writing a blog it would be a great space to help the development agenda in the crafts sector. Think about this, or you can prepare a periodic pdf newsletter and have these available for download as well as accessible to people who can subscribe for such an offering.” (Quote from recent e mail exchanged with Mr. M. P. Ranjan)

Thank you Mr. Ranjan, you taught us to follow our dreams with vigor. Your core ideologies of design thinking & system design will be the center stage of Blue Madder’s existence.

We will significantly follow your appreciation for transparent, empathetic, knowledge sharing culture.

We pay tribute to a great human being & our mentor Mr. M. P. Ranjan. Thank you sir for your directions, motivation & inspirations. YOU WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US.
Sharing below links for your reference, Ranjan’s incredible contribution to the field of Design in India, would be useful for further learning.

blog: <http://www.design-for-india.blogspot.com> (current and with downloads)
Above links from Ranjan’s email Signature.