Traditional attire out, trendy togs in

Traditional attire out, trendy togs in
Highlights

In what heralds an inevitable ethnical erosion and cultural identity crisis, the new generation women of Banjara tribe are bidding adieu to their flamboyant traditional attire and going for modern, classy outfits, a grave concern for the older, god-fearing lots in the community.    

The colourful clothes adorned with diamond and triangle shaped glasswork are now no longer seen and women are content just by making utility items such as wall hangings, mobile bags

Hyderabad: In what heralds an inevitable ethnical erosion and cultural identity crisis, the new generation women of Banjara tribe are bidding adieu to their flamboyant traditional attire and going for modern, classy outfits, a grave concern for the older, god-fearing lots in the community.

It is unfortunate to see fewer Banjara women clad in bright yellows, reds, greens and orange clothes. Be it the influence of modern lifestyle of the privileged class or just plain economic compulsions, young Banjara women are wearing modern clothes while the older generation try hard to stick to their distinct traditional garments.

Traditional handmade fabrics that were once part of their daily lives have been marginalised by the market trends. Readymade garments sold in glass-chrome buildings have pushed the small-time vendors on to the pavements. Banjara needle craft, symbol of the rich tribal tradition, however, has less or no takers, mainly due to lack of marketing and advertisement support.

Banjara women adept at making clothes with intricate designs have almost stopped the work due to the lack of marketing support. Mangli aka Satyavathi, anchor in a vernacular news channel, explains that Banjaras contribute to the rich arts and crafts of the State in the form of embroidery and mirror work on fabrics.

Simple needles, base fabrics and embroidery threads are used to create these beautiful pieces of art that attracts women, adds Mangli. Based on geometric combinations, triangles, diamonds, squares and the needlework, it takes a week to ten days to complete an outfit.

Several women from the community have almost stopped stitching clothes for themselves. G Salamma, a Banjara woman said, “We now make cushion covers, bags and other dress materials. These works are decorated with impressive mirror works on bags and wall hangings.”

Banjara-styled clothes and utility items made in intricate designs using sea-shells, glass and beads are sold on roadsides at SR Nagar, Koti, Miyapur, Kukatpally and a few other places in Hyderabad.

Bhanuthu Bujji, another Banjara woman, says, “Competition from synthetic and machine-made products has hit traditional crafts badly.” Banjara women have always stood out with their clothes made in simple chain stitch, herringbone and long and short stitches which give a rich appearance.

With the younger lots in the community no longer interested in those colourful outfits owing to cost and time involved in making, a rich cultural heritage of the region is slowly moving into oblivion.

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