Ikat and its importance in Indian culture. The author’s enthusiasm for Ikat and her vivid descriptions of Ikat fabrics help to create a sense of anticipation for the rest of the story.
The Story of Ikat Summary
Janaki was a Social Studies teacher. That day she came a bit late to the class. She brought the brilliant red and black checked rumals, shawls with black and blue geometric patterns with her. That material made the dull class vibrant. She wrote on the blackboard ‘Textiles of India – “Ikat” of Andhra Pradesh and pronounced the word “Ikat”. “Ikat” means “to bind” or “knot”. Then she elicited the name of Nalgonda district from the students. She made them know the name ‘Pochampally’, a village in Nalgonda district in connection with “Ikat”. Every student immediatley connected to the village.
A handloom is a hand operated loom which weaves. It has been weaving fabrics for centuries. Now we have forgotten our heritage in race with the machine. After telling this, Janaki began to tell the story of Ikat. It is called ‘Chitiki’ in Telugu, ‘Patola’ in Gujarati and simply ‘Ikat’ in Oriya. She showed them a silk patola sari from Patan, Gujarat which created a mesmerising effect. Then she asked them if they were thinking about ‘Ikat’ or ‘tie and dye’. When no one could answer her, she told them about ‘warp’ and ‘weft’. The threads stretched lengthwise are called ‘warp’ and the threads intersecting them widthwise are called ‘weft’.
In ‘Ikat’ the threads are carefully sorted, warp and weft divided into bundles, then tied with the materials like plastic sheets, rubber strips and then dropped into colours. The weavers count the threads, measure the distance, calculate when to repeat a pattern and then tie the knots. They draw patterns on the graphs and copy them on the threads. ‘Chitiki rumal’ was the favourite headgear of fishermen and other labourers.
Gujarat traders put them on their shoulders as the towels. In Telugu ‘Chitikedu’ means a small quantity of material. Then the students came to know about the original explanation of Ikat. They understood that the characteristic of Ikat was small and small dots of colour. Once Chitiki fabric was our favourite export item. There are different stories about its origin. Different regions fight about its origin but there is no systematic documentation to resolve this dispute. Tying the knot is sacred in our tradition. Muslim culture influenced the designs in Ikat in parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Deccan.
This conclusion paragraph effectively ties up the loose ends of the story and leaves the reader with a sense of hope and optimism. Janaki’s words remind us that Ikat weaving is a living tradition that continues to evolve and inspire.