GI tag for Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar painting, Telangana’s Telia Rumal

Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar painting and Telangana’s Telia Rumal were given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag on Tuesday by the Geographical Indications Registry headquartered in Chennai. The application for the painting was made by Sohrai Kala Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Limited while the application for Telia Rumal was made by the Consortium of Puttapaka Handloom Cluster-IHDS.

Local traditions

“The Sohrai Khovar painting is a traditional and ritualistic mural art being practised by local tribal women during local harvest and marriage seasons using local, naturally available soils of different colours in the area of Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand. Telia Rumal cloth involves intricate handmade work with cotton loom displaying a variety of designs and motifs in three particular colours — red, black and white,” said Chinnaraja G. Naidu, Deputy Registrar of Geographical Indications. He added that the GI tag has been given to both these products after due verification.

The Sohrai Khovar painting is primarily being practised only in the district of Hazaribagh. However, in recent years, for promotional purposes, it has been seen in other parts of Jharkhand.

Traditionally painted on the walls of mud houses, they are now seen on other surfaces, too. The style features a profusion of lines, dots, animal figures and plants, often representing religious iconography. In recent years, the walls of important public places in Jharkhand, such as the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, and the Hazaribagh and Tatanagar Railway Stations, among others, have been decorated with Sohrai-Khovar paintings.

Historic weave

Details provided in the application filed with the Geographical Indications Registry shows that Telia Rumal can only be created using the traditional handloom process and not by any other mechanical means as otherwise, the very quality of the Rumal would be lost.

During the Nizam’s dynasty, Puttapaka, a small, backward village of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh had about 20 families engaged in handloom weaving, who were patronised by rich Muslim families and the Nizam rulers.

The officers working in the court of the Nizam would wear the Chituki Telia Rumal as a symbolic representation of status. Telia Rumals are offered at the dargah of Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan, with some devotees offering 50 or even 100 cloths. Telia Rumals were worn as a veil by princesses at the erstwhile court of the Nizam of Hyderabad; and as a turban cloth by Arabs in the Middle East.

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