The group organised a colourful saree event for Ladies Day at the Royal Ascot horse races in Berkshire, England, in June last year, when hundreds of women from the Indian subcontinent combined their colourful sarees (Image Credit: Twitter)
A UK-based women’s organisation is planning a unique celebration of Indian weaves in honour of National Handloom Day next month through a ‘Saree Walkathon’.
The walkathon is scheduled to take place in central London, commencing at Trafalgar Square and culminating at Parliament Square on August 6, a day ahead of India’s National Handloom Day.
Anticipated to be a colourful and diverse event, around 500 women representing different states of India will participate, draped in a stunning array of vibrant weaves.
The walkathon will showcase the beauty of Indian handloom traditions as participants pass by some of London’s most iconic landmarks.
“The modern Indian woman of today believes in traversing the world beyond her cocoon and she does all that and more in a saree while redefining the codes of power dressing,” said Dr Dipti Jain of the British Women in Sarees group, which is organising the walkathon with the backing of Inspiring Indian Women (IIW).
“The British Women in Sarees is a group of empowered women who take pride in flaunting handloom sarees and representing the unique cultural melting pot that is India. It is a not-for-profit organisation which likes to organise events to promote our national heritage and make everyone around the world aware of the toil, handwork and artistry which goes behind weaving each of these masterpieces,” she said.
The group organised a colourful saree event for Ladies Day at the Royal Ascot horse races in Berkshire, England, in June last year, when hundreds of women from the Indian subcontinent combined their colourful sarees with the traditional English headgear associated with the event.
“The Ascot is a symbol of fine British pageantry and elegance. As residents of the UK, we felt elated and proud of the inclusivity that the stage provided us to pay homage to our roots, India,” added Jain.
A team from Kerala is being coordinated by Dr Deepa Hegde, Dr Hema Santhosh and Shirley Gibson alongside 30 other members. They plan to showcase the traditional handloom Settu Mundu and sarees bought directly from the state’s weavers.
They also plan to perform a traditional dance from Kerala at Parliament Square, where the walkathon will conclude with a tribute to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
National Handloom Day takes place annually on August 7 as a tribute to the handloom-weaving community of India and highlights the contribution of this sector to the socio-economic development of the country.
The date connects with the independence struggle when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Swadeshi Movement in 1905 to encourage indigenous industries and in particular handloom weavers.