By Dr Vijaya Lunia and Gagan Bhalla
India, the country has fine heritage of culture, tradition, art, music, literature and does exhibit “Unity in Diversity” - through variegated charms of festivals, rituals, art, music, costume and languages.
Indians are world famous for their magnificent workmanship and produce the most beautiful hand spun and hand woven textiles, yet preserved and exhibited in many of the known Indian as well as western museums.
The origin of Indian textiles can be traced to the Indus valley civilization. The art of embroidery is clearly of the Eastern origin and is of such ancient lineage that our knowledge of it stretches into pre-historic ages. The needlework tradition dates back to 2300 BC to 1500 BC and has been richly inherited by various regions, each having a special style and an individual inspiration. With the discovery of bronze needles at the site of Mohenjo-Daro (2500 BC to 1700 BC), it is evident that there was knowledge of needlecraft even so long ago. The Indian folk art and embroidery play an important role in creating many new designs. Moving to north India, embroidery is most prominently practiced by women. Mirror work over multicoloured thread embroidery is the contribution of western India. Indian embroidery and artistry has always been seducing people from different comers of the world, with its colours, individualities and ability to keep the gazers awestruck at the skill which has come down from one generation to the other without a loosening of the cords of tradition. India has long been known for its golden thread, zari and its various products.
“The jewel in the crown” Rajasthan, brings everything at its most beautiful. Perhaps no other region of India is so thrilling, so colourful and so possesses more the traditional and picturesque.
Gota work is the famous embroidery of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, mainly done at Jaipur, Ajmer and Khandela. The craft is passed from one generation to another.
The main source of income for the women comes from this craft. All community women like Jains, Baniyas, and Rajputs are involved in the craft but religion-wise predominately Muslims are involved, the ratio being Muslim 75 per cent and Hindus 25 per cent. An interesting caste dimension of the craft is that the Rajput women do gota work and Muslim women do aari-tari and kashidakari but to their bad luck all are uneducated.
Gota is a strip of gold or silver or various other coloured ribbons of varying width, woven in a satin or twill weave. There are two styles folk and classic.
It is worked with the appliqué technique using running, back, hem, or couching stitch on fabrics like georgette, chiffon, tussar silk, crepe, bandhani, cotton, viole, etc, and the various colours are red, orange, pink, maroon and yellow.
Motifs comprised of peacock, sparrow, paisley, floral, geometrical, human figure, palanquin, elephant and horse.
These designs are organised into buta, buties, border and jal.
The various products made are salwar kurta, lenhga, short kurtis, topper, skirts, cholis, ghagras, odhini’s, saris, rakhi, turbans, torans, cushion cover, mobile cover and jhooties.