MS. JUHI PANDEY
KALA KAPAAS – NEELO KAAPAD (Kala Cottn –Indigo Cloth)
Kala Kapas-Neelo Kaapad, is the story of the revival of the indigenous cotton value chain of Kachchh, initiated by Khamir, which has transformed the lives of farmers, spinners, dyers and weavers.
This initiative sought to find an identity for the region.
Kala Kapaas, a rain fed organic cotton, grows abundantly in Eastern Kachchh. A short staple cotton, kala was farmed, hand spun and woven traditionally. The proliferation of BT cotton in India however, resulted in the availability of finer and cheaper yarns leading to the decline of traditionally used kala.
The Khatri community, who are the traditional block printers and dyers of Kachchh and Sindh, used Indigo, which grew wildly in the region. Shift in the water table due to seismic activity and climate change reduced the availability of natural indigo. The introduction of synthetic dyes by the end of the 19th century also changed the dyeing practice.
Natural indigo was still used by the Ajkrah block printers in Kachchh for exclusive orders, while Kachchhi weavers had moved to using acid and reactive dyes for their yarns.
The introduction of indigo dyed kala cotton yarn by Khamir enhanced the weaving quality and aesthetics leading to a new product range for the craft and textile enthusiasts in India and across the world.