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“Two thousand years! Can you Imagine?” says Dawood, “During all these years the art of making bandhani has changed and changed and changed and eventually with their own minds and their own discretion, people have brought down the quality of it!”.

Dawood is a tie and dye artisan. He learned this craft from his maternal grandfather when he was 7 years old. “As a boy, I liked working with dyes but I also developed an interest in fine tying work.” he says. He is from the little town of Mundra in Southern Kachchh, a once flourishing port famous for its salt and spices. A narrow alley lead us down to a quaint little house where he lives with his wife Sarabai.

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After receiving his training in Jamnagar (Gujarat) early in his career, Dawood and Sarabhai returned to Kachchh and shared their knowledge with other artisans in the town. Dawood’s work has remained very true to his beginnings. He still works mainly with traditional designs.

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“The best piece I made is the one for which I won the National Award. I have never made another piece like it. The tying work was all done by the women of our house, and they put their heart into their work. After it was complete, everybody unanimously agreed that we cannot sell this piece, we will keep it in the house.”

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Dawood Khatri believes that it makes a difference when someone really puts their heart into their work. “I was able to come this far only because I was interested in it and wanted to keep learning. Even now, I want to keep on learning.”

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From September 2012 to February 2013, a team of us have been travelling around Kachchh searching for stories of Bandhani artisans. We spoke to a small handful in each region to get a glimpse into their lives and histories. We found stories of hope, risk, creativity, determination and passion.

Voices of the community is a collection of all these creative people across Kachchh and what they have to say. Visit Bandhani : Ties, Dyes and Bumpy Rides for more.


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In the village of Tera, every day after lunch, you will find a group of men sitting under a people tree at the bus-stand.
They smoke.
They drink tea.
They discuss life and politics and pursuits and disputes.
And meanwhile some of them tie colourful pieces of cloth.

Tera village1
Tera village2They make very fine knots, nearly about a 100 per square inch! Once the tying is done, the cloth is then dyed in colour to make what is known as “Bandhani” – the most popular art from this region. Tying of cloth is done by women everywhere else in kachchh. So there was something captivating about this scene in Tera.

For me and my camera.

Tera village

For the last two and a half months, we have been following Bandhani artists everywhere in Kachchh. We have invaded their homes with our cameras and microphones, our smiles and awkwardness, our questions and curiosity. The search for Bandhani took us to several places ; Anjar, Badli, Bhuj, Mundra, Mandvi, Tera and Virani. So many voices, so many faces to this popular craft. And never before have I seen a greater hospitality. They fed us, sang for us, and shared with us, their side of the story.

Very soon, in the month of January, we will celebrate these stories in the form of an exhibition at the Khamir campus. There will be workshops to participate in, photographs to see, films to watch, people to meet, and lots and lots of secrets of a craft that is much celebrated not only in Kachchh but in the entire country.

Bandhani in Kachchh

And here is a little glimpse into our adventures, a trailer to a film made by two wonderful friends, Jilna and Sarah.

See you in Jan!

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