A Culture in Transition
Anakaputhur, Tamil Nadu | NID Ahmedabad
Research and Documentation on the local weaver community
I chose to document the weavers’ lives and evolution in Anakaputhur as it is a paradigm of the conflict between craft and industrial sectors—one of the biggest problems in a country like India with its deep roots in tradition and craft culture. The constant overlap of style and the consequent demotion of identity of the crafts, affects the artisans’ livelihood. Their skills get undermined and their work loses its value. Studying this situation can help solve these problems and find a balance between tradition and change.
This document tells the story of a small weaving community in Chennai with a hazy past going back to when the region was famous for the weaving of Madras Checks. The Real Madras Handkerchief (RMHK)—a square cloth containing the pattern of the checks— has had a colourful and rich past and has played a big role in how the history of Madras has shaped itself. The lives of the weavers in this suburb have changed considerably over the years and my aim was to understand this change and transition.