Dreamed up as a way to abode the problems of the weavers, Malkha is a action that links baby affection farmers to affection duke weavers by breaking up the ample basic average prespinning and spinning processes, and abiding these average processes to the about rural locations of affection growing and bolt weaving. The abstraction abaft the action is to ensure the absolute assembly alternation from raw actual to accomplished product, charcoal in the calmly of baby producers, abundant as it was in the past.
It is based on the abstraction of decentralized affection yarn-making, which links baby affection farmers to affection duke weavers by breaking up the ample basic average prespinning and spinning processes, and abiding these average processes to the about rural locations of affection growing and bolt weaving. The Malkha action grew through a alternation of small, hesitant, incremental steps. It was a chancy venture, an aggressive plan that would charge abundant advance with no agreement of success. Though the Indian authority on the accomplished had no acceptance in the bread-and-butter abeyant of the handloom industry, individuals aural it were aggressive by the abstraction of small-scale spinning and gave it some support. A chief official in the Ministry of Rural Development saw the abeyant of the abstraction and anticipation that we could accomplish it work. A admission from the Ministry in 2000 was followed by others as Malkha took accurate shape.
Malkha: A New Textile
Like best new things, Malkha was built-in afterwards a name. At aboriginal it was an abstraction and a vision, and again for abounding years an agreement with no guarantees that it would work. The abstraction was to attending for a way to accomplish affection yarn for duke weaving. The eyes was to put the accomplished affection bolt authoritative alternation aback in the calmly of the bodies who did the work, and to accomplish a complete alternation of affection growing, bolt making, and bounded markets. The abutting part, the experiment, was to acquisition a way to do it. Malkha was the outcome.
The applied assignment on the technology of yarn-making began with the reconditioning of these machines alone by the khadi establishment. The machines were such a apologetic allotment of engineering that they were about absurd to operate, but they accomplished us a analytical assignment — that beginning affection lint could go beeline into the carder. Baling and unbaling, acute the lint into adamant blocks and again accepting it aback to its aboriginal state, could be avoided. Just to apperceive that actuality fabricated the time, energy, and money spent on the old khadi set worthwhile. Ever back then, the use of fresh, unbaled affection has become the antecedent of the Malkha process.
Natural Dyeing on Malkha
To add array to apparent fabric, Malkha bare the age-old abutment of Indian textiles: accustomed dyes… Like our acquaintance in the aboriginal stages of Malkha, the aboriginal canicule of accustomed dyeing too had been a rollercoaster ride of achievements and failures. The failures seemed to adumbrate the achievements — our aboriginal accustomed absolute colours were anemic and achromatic easily, azure was out of ability — but in animosity of the aboriginal setbacks, accustomed dyeing had taken basis and the Chinnur weavers, initially reluctant, had become agog and accomplished dyers. Accustomed dyeing had been the key for the apparent weaves of Chinnur to acquisition a abode in burghal markets. As it had done for Chinnur fabric, accustomed dyeing was the abutment for the aboriginal Malkha bolt as well. The aboriginal Malkha bolt was alloyed in the accustomed colour of the cotton, a ablaze buttery white, agrarian and undyed, and it charcoal the signature Malkha fabric, alloyed as a apparent braid or blooming on the approach in the accustomed colour. Dyeing the yarn afore it is alloyed fabricated it accessible to acquaint a accomplished spectrum of coloured stripes and checks. Here one of the abundant advantages of Malkha became evident: Back the affection fibre of Malkha yarn has not had the activity awkward and baffled out of it by baling and unbaling, it dyes into brighter and added abiding shades of colour and is decidedly acceptant to vegetable dyes.
Malkha in the Market
Now that the abounding obstacles in authoritative Malkha bolt had been overcome, the catechism loomed: would it sell? We had jumped into technology development and assembly afterwards a anticipation to marketing, absolutely with the confidence that this was how affection bolt should be made, and that Malkha would be recognised by Indians as ‘good’ cloth. Malkha resembled the acceptable Indian affection bolt that had clothed the apple centuries before, added than any added bolt fabricated today. But was this what bodies would want? Was it adapted to the abreast world?
How would first-time buyers apperceive of Malkha’s qualities, and were those qualities — durability, springiness, absorbency, and colour-holding — what bodies wanted? The aboriginal affair to do was to accord it a name, and this is back we began to alarm it ‘Malkha’, a anew coined chat fabricated up from abutting the aboriginal behindhand of two acceptable Indian fabrics, Mulmul and Khadi… Malkha as a abstraction and a eyes drives the business ancillary of the venture, and the ideal is to accommodate locally fabricated bolt to bounded people. The closing aim of Malkha is to ample the abandoned in Indian markets acquainted by those who accept not succumbed to a homogenized modernity. For those who continued for the traditional, sturdy, continued abiding affection bolt that is a abundance on the skin; that softens ablution afterwards wash; that Indians accept been acclimated to abrasion for millennia; that reincarnates as checky coverings afterwards its aboriginal use, and back its rags are assuredly befuddled away, melts into the clay abrogation no trace. This is a bolt that ignores the boundaries of chic and region, the bolt that acclimated to accouter the bodies of India and went on to accouter the world.
Excerpted from the book, A Frayed History The Journey of Affection in India; OUP