Modharam Meghwal, National Awardee

barmer, pattu, weaving, rajasthan, handloom

Sitting on a charpai is his towering personality with a huge vibrant saafa and big smiling eyes. These eyes are of the man who dreamt big and wanted more from life. A life that he was born into, that of a shepherd wasn’t good enough for him and he was determined to change it for the better since a very young age. The life of the weavers in the neighbouring villages, who were financially better and respected by the locals appealed to him; and he was keen to get a slice of that too.

With this strong desire, he approached an established weaver and insisted on learning the art of turning yarn into yardage using the most basic of weaves. Not content with knowing simply the basic weave, this ambitious man wanted more. Armed with a huge appetite to learn, this motivated young man taught himself the skills needed to weave the famous Rajasthani Pattu and later, went on to gain recognition for his work by receiving the national award for excellence in craftsmanship. We are talking about Modharam Meghwal from Dhanau, Barmer in Rajasthan who is an extraordinary weaver-trainer-entrepreneur. Today, along with his son, Govind (also a state-level awardee), he runs a successful business, training hundreds of locals to weave. He also fulfils orders from big fashion houses in India and from customers across the world.

The point of this story is, that with the right amount of grit and determination, one can work towards the direction of ones dreams. Sometimes it is good not to accept status quo. Remember, it takes just one person to change the fortunes of a family. Modharamji is a living example of this.

Govind tells me that Rangsutra, an organisation that works directly with many weavers and artisans supported them hugely in their endeavours earlier on and today, they continue to work for them amongst other customers. Another point to note, that we all need support from one another. Modharamji and Govind got it from Rangasutra and now they are giving it to the local men by training them.

Making a name in Pattu, both father and son today continue to create variations to the traditional weave to fit into current lifestyles. For those not familiar with this style of weaving, Pattu is a variation on the word patti, meaning a narrow piece of cloth. Traditionally woven using the local camel and sheep wool (in natural colours), this was draped by the locals to keep themselves warm in the bitter cold of the vibrant desert land though today, it’s often used for making a style statement and of course, comes in a choice of colours (and a choice of wool or cotton).

Traditionally, Plain Pattu was draped by the elder male members of the community while the more colourful style, Kashidapattu was used by the younger men. Today, it’s not just shawls that the weavers are working on, but Pattu is being used to make jackets, dhurries as well as a finer version with a higher thread count for various clothes.

To know more. please do connect with the master weaver, Modharam Meghwal or his son, Govind Meghwal on:
Phone: +91 9772504603
Instagram: @j_b_handloom_weavers_dhanau

Modharamji weaving a Pattu
Modharamji draped in his own Pattu

We urge you to pick up the phone and speak to them and if you happen to be in the area, then do arrange to drop in to see them and their work. Hear their stories, enjoy their hospitality and help spread the beauty of their work far and wide. Be Notjustashopper!

Pictures above: Courtesy Modharamji
Cover illustration: NJAS

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