When the President wore an Ikat stole

It was a memorable day and moment of pride for the weavers of Pochampally in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district. The cotton and silk stole weaved by them adorned the shoulders of President of India Ram Nath Kovind. The occasion? The seventh convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H) on August 5.

Not only the President, but Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh E.S.L. Narasimhan, Deputy Chief Minister Mahamood Ali and Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao also donned the stoles woven by them.

The decision to give a local weave to their convocation was spun out first in 2016 as the Design Department of the IIT-H thought of having a different dress code for its convocation. As different strands of ideas criss-crossed, the idea of using the services of world famous weavers of Pochampally emerged finally. Though the objective was to don its graduates with a costume of local fabric, colour and stitch, the incidental spin-off was to provide some additional income to the weavers with poor income.

IIT-H began using cotton fabric for its convocation dress in 2016 for 449 graduating students. Next year, it was 473. This year, the uniform was white pyjama and kurta with stoles in different colours with the IIT-H logo weaved on them. It was wrapped around the shoulders and was fixed with two buttons.

Fruit of the loom

“We sat with the weavers for several rounds to finalise the design and the preparation took almost a year from discussion to conclusion,” said Head of Design Department in IIT-H Deepak John Mathew.

Five designers and 24 weavers were involved in preparing these stoles and it took about two months to complete. As many as 650 stoles for students in red, mustard, blue and green were prepared and sold for Rs. 540 each. “For the 40 VIPs, we prepared them with fine silk costing about Rs. 2,800 each. For VVIPs, we made with the finest silk and cotton costing about Rs. 8,000 each, and one of it was worn by the President. We feel very proud about it,” Director, Marketing and Operations, Pochampally Handloom Park Limited Bharata Lava Kumar told
The Hindu
. It was made by the tie-and-dye method in Ikat design using eco-friendly and azo-free dyes, he added.

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