This sari is woven by Bodo or Boro weavers of Assam under the supervision of Pratibha Brahma, one of the most orchid loving humans I ever met in my life. Pratibha made a weaving unit in her own house where she gave livelihood opportunities to many skilled artisans of weaving craft. Her own aesthetics are par excellence as she was always able to narrate the significance of the weaves to the story they carry within themselves. Always ready with a folk tale, Pratibha is a fine story teller and a good ambassador for her people. Pratibha has become very busy woman now handling active social reforms in her community. We have not been in touch for few years but I see her Facebook posts and feel happy that she still loves her orchids very much.
I have kept these weaves for years as I couldn't find in myself a right homage to pay to this woman as well as the weaves she could translate into reality from my rough drawings on paper. We sat together over each design and broke down the warp and weft dynamics of each. We made many weaves together over those magical years of learning and this sari and a stole are the only remains of those days.
This sari incorporates Sukhangnai Hajw agor weave. Agor means flower motif. Hajw means hill motif. Nature is integral to weaving motifs. This Sari too is the depiction of the same.
To bring out the colours of the weaves, I used the bright orange fabric woven by the weavers of Tai Khampti community. We had brought about 500 kgs of cotton yarn to Arunachal Pradesh and took it as a drive to sensitise weavers towards using cotton over easily available synthetic yarns. This initiative brought livelihood to untrained weavers, single mothers, and older women to engage in weaving plain, checks and striped fabrics.
Thank you Pratibha for a close contact with your community Boro, being my introduction to your lovely cuisine and rich ancestry.
Indigenous Boro or Bodo tribe is an extension of Kachari tribes of Assam. Bordering Meghalaya hill regions, Bodo tribe has become an interesting confluence of other communities, including Garo and traditional Ahoms. Hindu and Christian beliefs too walk parallel, and only become visible during the festival celebrations.