Reviving past glory
By Sudha Menon
Hindu Business Line
What do fashion designer Rohit Bal, film-maker and designer Muzaffar Ali and ethnic Indian designer-wear stylist Ritu Kumar have in common with the scion of the erstwhile Indore royal family, Shivajirao `Richard' Holkar? All of them share a passion for the exquisite textiles from the temple-town of Maheshwar, which dates back to the reign of Ahilyadevi Holkar.
And it is this passion that has Holkar, a seventh-generation scion of the Indore rulers, travelling across the country, reaching out to discerning buyers and propagating the dying textile tradition called Maheshwari. "Ahilyadevi brought the famed weavers of Surat and that is how the famed Maheshwari sarees of yore came into being," says Holkar, President of the Rehwa Society, an organisation, which strives to provide employment to the weavers who are now the keepers of this 1,500-year-old tradition.