Jammu, Feb 18: The traditional “calico printing” of Samba area, which dates back more than a century to the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, has been collaboratively revived by two government departments in Jammu and Kashmir.
Self Help Groups (SHGs) operate under the UMEED programme of the J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission (JK-RLM) and the Handicraft Department, which have played a vital role in preserving, reviving, and promoting the printing art of Samba, which was formerly well-known for the textile industry.
Samba is famous for ‘calico printing’ (block printing technique) and was also known as ‘City of Sheets’.
The ‘calico printing’ enjoys wide popularity because of its decorative and artistic expression depicting the richness and lustre of the colours produced.
Explaining how they work to protect the dying traditional art technique, J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission, Umeed Scheme, District Program Manager, Samba, SmritiKesarwani told Greater Kashmir that: “5 SHGs have been associated and the collective members’ strength is 50. Our SHGs are also working on the revival of forgotten calico printing which is famous in Samba. To revive the art, the SHG girls have added the calico printing in jute bags with multiple designs due to which the jute bags have become more decorative and attractive.”
“We are also preparing for the scheduled SarasAjivika National Fair for which multiple types of jute bags are being prepared with the use of calico printing and boutique waste,” she said.
Besides, she said that the SHGs have also been preparing cotton and paper bags to make Samba district polythene free.
Regarding the calico painting, she said that “The printing was at his dead end and we have revived it with the involvement of SHGs. We have received a good response from whosoever has brought the calico printing cloths/jute bags.”
“Our 10 SHG girls have got training from the Department of Handicraft and they are still attached to the training centres. These trained girls are further providing training to other girls,” informed the officer of the Umeed Scheme.
She said, “We need support from the common masses for the sale of the jute bags and other things being produced by the village girls.”
Pertinently, the Umeed scheme J&K RLM is aimed to reduce poverty among marginalized women to make them self-reliant as a result of which the number of functional Self Help Group (SHG) has increased up to 70594 and the active SHG members across the Union Territory has also gone up to 578692.
According to Assistant Director Handicrafts Samba, Niharika said that: “We are running two training centres in Samba district. Each centre has a capacity of 20 each trainees (excluding SHGs). The centres have been providing calico printing.”
The training period remains for one year and the trainee gets Stephen of Rs 1000 per month. When they complete the training, they get registered with the Department of Handicraft and accordingly, these registered opticians become eligible to get benefits of the department under self-employment,” she added while elaborating how the department provides financial support in self-employment/cooperative societies.
“We have approximately 150 artisans registered with the Handicraft Department including certain traditional artisans. Samba was also known as City of Sheets because of block printing (calico) on cotton sheets etc,” the officer added.
“We have established 3 cooperative societies for calico printing (micro-scale units) in Samba district and it’s being revived and people are being made aware about the art.”
“In the era of e-marketing, we are trying to get our artisans and societies registered on e-platforms so that the calico printing can be available on online shopping sites like Amazon and Flipkart to gain popularity and globally increase demand for the calico,” she said.