November 17, 2022
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The art of Bagh printing was originated by Muslims from the Khatri community, whose familial legacy goes back to Pakistan’s Sindh Province. Long before the handicraft got its name after the Bagh River in Madhya Pradesh, the Khatris relocated several times in order to find a suitable place for their business, which required being in vicinity of a natural water source. Lying around 150 kilometres away from Indore, the town became an abode for these artisans not only due to its proximity to the village’s river but, also because the unique chemical composition found in the water enhanced the texture of natural dyes used in making Bagh prints.
Ismail Khatri, the creator of this skill, redefined block printing when most tribal craftsmen gradually discontinued handiwork, as the synthetic industry grew in the 1960s. He stuck to his inherited family metier and trained his son, Abdul Kadar Khatri, in the craft. Abdul, a National Awardee for his outstanding contribution towards block printing, is survived by his wife, Rashida Bee Khatri, and four sons, Arif, Mohammed, Hamid Zilani, and Mohammed Ali. Now in the age of social media and fast fashion, the family finds it difficult to compete with clothing industries that specialise in bulk manufacturing and inexpensive rates.
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