A lot can be done with a few layers of wax. Batik, the ancient craft form of wax-resist dyeing is practiced in various parts of the world. In this method of printing, desired patterns are made on the fabric with wax and then dyed to get the characteristic patchy patterns. The fabric is washed in hot water to get rid of the wax and what remains is the printed fabric. Repeating this multiple times gives desirable effects. It is one of the most innovative forms of textile printing in the world.

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Introduction:

Usage:

In India, Batik prints were the attire of the nomadic tribes who moved around the belt of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. This craft has now been honed by skilled craftsmen to make various varieties of dress materials, garments and home furnishings for the contemporary market.


Significance:

Batik is a craft versatile in its expression, fabric being its canvas. It is a craft form that is encouraging, even for amateurs, to take it up, have fun with it and gradually develop their skill on the way. The level of experience required is not much and some of the best effects in Batik are achieved through serendipity. The facility for carrying about Batik printing has also been improved over the years. This aspect has helped in conserving the number of craftsmen practicing Batik. There is no dearth or difficulty in recruiting and teaching either.
In this method, the color holds on to the fabric more strongly than printed fabrics. The fabric absorbs the color during the dyeing process so well that it does not easily fade. Due to the easy availability of raw materials and its adaptability, Batik has been introduced in many areas as a source of income generation to bring about a sustainable livelihood. The craft form has been revamped with the usage of brighter colors and new patterns, which has lead to an increase in its market over the last decade. There is also an upcoming demand for the traditional intricate designs.


Myths & Legends:

The exact place where Batik originated is still a hazy picture, but there exists a folk tale in China about how this method of printing may have been discovered.
A very long time ago, there was a girl living in a stone village called Anshun, now a city in Guizhou Province. She was very fond of dyeing cloth in her favored colors of blue and purple. One day while she was dyeing, a bee buzzed around and sat on the cloth. When she spotted the bee, the girl shooed it away. After dyeing, she noticed that there was a small white dot where the bee had once sat. The girl found this very pretty and discovered the reason for this was the residue of the bee’s wax. This serendipitous discovery of hers led to the usage of wax in dyeing.


History:

The history of the Batik method of printing can be traced back to almost two thousand years. Its exact point of origin is not known, but is said to have been an offshoot of mordant resist dyeing which was discovered and extensively practiced in India on cotton fabrics almost five thousand years ago. 
The method of mordant resist printing spread to Indonesia through the Indian traders. Indonesia took to the craft quickly and flavored it with the local myths and rituals. Many influences of Hindu mythology can also be seen in the Indonesian Batik patterns. For example, ‘Sawat’ is the decorative form of ‘Garuda’, the eagle vehicle of Lord Vishnu and ‘Sidomukti’ is a pattern derived from the Hindu principles of prosperity and sufficiency. It then caught on like fire to Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries in the west when the Dutch travelers took the fabric along on their journeys for trade. Batik entered Malaysia only in 1913. While in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are known for their block printing (tjab/stamping) method also to create batik on a large scale, in Sri Lanka, Batik is still made by hand. Sri Lankan Batik is less intricate and more suited to modern times. The Indonesian Batiks are highly evolved and the artists have excelled in very complicated patterns. Many artisans from India are sent to Indonesia for training in this craft form.
Batik production had dimmed in India gradually. It saw an uplifting revival in the 20th century when introduced as a subject in the famed Shantiniketan University of West Bengal. In the southern region of India, the Cholamandalam artists’ village in Chennai has been a pioneer in encouraging and sustaining this craft. Though Batik is a widely practiced craft, the designs and methods vary from region to region.

According to one of the Batik craftsmen in Behrugarh, Murshiji, the Chippas were under the patronage of Raja Jaisingh of Rajasthan. Later, the Hindu Chippas converted to Islam and spread out to wherever there were sources of running water were available to aid their craft. They thus landed up in Behrugarh. Research says that Raja Sawai Jai Singh had invited many craftsmen to settle in his land in Jaipur. This was done to meet the clothing needs of the subjects and the royal court. Also to bring about a new aesthetic sense by combining the art of different traditions. The outcome was a cluster of craftsmen practicing various crafts like zari, block printing etc. They came from Gujarat and Malwa regions.

Batik production mainly catered to the tribal population of the north western regions of India. Large open markets are set up from where the tribals or adivasis buy the materials from. Earlier the resist dyeing was done using sand. This method was called ‘Dabu’. It later developed into the Batik method when sand was replaced with wax. The prominent color of Alizarine which is a characteristic of tribal drapery became a mandatory in the resist dyed fabrics since they were the primary customers. Alizarin was made from the roots of the Madder plant. Before the Alizarine dyes, prints by the name of ‘Jodhpuriya’ were made for the Adivasis of Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. 


Design:

The wax resist dyeing gives a broken and marble-like appearance to the pattern. The traditional designs were intricate abstracts of flowers, birds and animals. The common names of the designs are Bhairavgari Buta, Haathi Baga, Naadna Buta, Kerala Keri, Morsali, Jodhpuriya, Lehariya etc.
Over time, Batik patterns have embraced many innovations due to its flexibility. Inspirations are derived from tribal art too. The motifs used can be broadly divided into two categories: geometrical and elaborate. The elaborate motifs are generally natural, such as flowers and buds, leaves, birds, fish, butterflies, vines, small animals and insects. The geometric patterns include lines, squares and various tessellations.


Challenges:

Like the challenges faced by most crafts where time plays an important factor in quality, Batik also is needing to succumb to synthetic raw materials and facilities to mass produce the fabric. The shift to using industrial wax is making the recycling of leftover wax difficult, thus increasing wastage.
Large quantities of water are required for washing the fabric during the processes.
Block printing is dependent upon clean, mineral fresh water to create colors from natural dyes. The lowering water tables in the regions pose an upcoming threat for the craftsmen, who now have to dig bore wells deeper than usual.
The pricing of the fabric is also becoming a challenge. With the amount of efforts involved, the value is more, but increasing the price would also decrease the demand of the fabric. The government taxes have also increased over the years.
When it comes to the hand-drawn designs of Batik printing, a certain level of expertise is required in knowing how to spontaneously work with wax. It can sometimes prove to be a difficult material to work with if the artist lacks speed and dexterity.


Introduction Process:

A craft that has evolved over a long period of time and across many places simultaneously, Batik has multiple forms; varying with the resisting material to the prints to its symbolism. Essentially, Batik printing is a multi-staged process involving the application of wax, dyeing and washing to achieve the desired design. The fine cracks which appear in the wax let some dye in and lend Batik its distinctive effect cracked wax effect.


Raw Materials:

Huge slabs of paraffin wax are brought in from the industries in Ujjain. The various dyes are bought from the cities of Ujjain, Ahmedabad and Bombay. The fabric for dyeing is brought in from Maheshwar, Chanderi and Erode.
The Natural color blue is derived from indigo, while orange and red colors are made using henna. Turmeric is used to make yellow color, while black color is made by burning iron. However, natural dyes are fast being replaced by chemical ones. A combination of two or more colors can also be used to create different effects.
The other raw materials are firewood, kerosene and wet cotton.


Waste:

The usage of industrial wax is deeming it difficult for the craftsmen to re use the leftover wax without wasting it. There is also a considerable wastage of water during the process.


Tools & Tech:

Long tables (1) with sand spread over it in a thick layer are used in this method. The fabric is placed over them and the sand prevents the cloth from sticking to the table, when the wax is applied. Sometimes the fabric is tied to wooden or metal frames like hammocks when the wax needs to be applied in large patches as fillings.
Wooden blocks (2) and a special brush made from coconut fiber hunched and tied together are used to make styluses to make patterns with wax. Flat brushes are otherwise used to apply wax, especially when large areas have to be covered.
A large burner with a wide bowl (4) of bubbling wax is a common feature right next to each artist. This is used to keep the wax constantly heated and in liquid form, when the artists dip in their styluses to make wax patterns. The dyes are mixed in big bowls (5) or large plastic buckets.


Rituals:


process:

A craft that has evolved over a long period of time and across many places simultaneously, Batik has multiple forms; varying with the resisting material to the prints to its symbolism. Essentially, Batik printing is a multi-staged process involving the application of wax, dyeing and washing to achieve the desired design. The fine cracks which appear in the wax let some dye in and lend Batik its distinctive effect cracked wax effect.

 

The bundles of fabric are first made ready and processed. They are bleached and left overnight to get a stark white colour. After this the fabric is spread on a table with sand, or tied to frames for wax to be applied.
There are three ways the wax patterns are made.

1. One is using the coconut-fiber brush (2). Freehand drawings are made by the skilled artists. These brushes are dipped into the pot of wax and dexterously moved over the fabric to create free flowing patterns. The artists do this with dexterous speed and high concentration before the wax cools, without any pre-drawn sketches or guidelines on the fabric.

2. The other method is using wooden blocks (3) which are dipped into the vat of wax and pressed onto the cloth for the rugged patterns.

3. The third method is using a flat brush or a rolled up (4) wad of cloth to apply wax over large areas of the fabric.
The type of wax traditionally used is 30 per cent beeswax and 70 per cent paraffin wax, but these days mostly paraffin wax is used as it is easily available and less costly. The wax is carefully heated while working, as overheating would lead to the wax catching fire with the smallest of sparks.
The fabric is sometimes crumbled to create the fine cracks in the wax. This process requires some expertise to achieve the right type and amount of hairline cracks.
The fabric used is carefully chosen since it has to be able to withstand the heat and weight of the wax. For this reason, synthetic fabrics are mostly avoided.
After this the fabric is soaked with a color fixer before it is dyed. It is dipped in tanks (5) filled with dye for about 10-15 minutes. The fabric is then run through boiling water to remove the wax. The dyeing is repeated according to the number of colors in the required design. The lighter colors are started with first, gradually moving on to the darker dyes.
If there are any spots left undyed, a process called ‘topping’ is carried out where the cloth is dipped in a direct dye to color the spots. The finest Batiks are reversible. Motifs are drawn, waxed and dyed first on one and then the other side of the fabric.


Cluster Name: Ujjain - Ujjain

Introduction:


district Ujjain - Ujjain
state Madhya Pradesh
population 5.15 lakhs (2011)
langs Hindi, English
best-time August - March
stay-at Ujjain a big town is situated about 7-8 km from Berogah. One can find many good quality hotels and guest houses here.
reach Ujjain Junction Railway Station connects Ujjain to all the major Indian cities, Well built SH & NH connect Ujjain with all the states of India. State transport buses & Delux a/c buses operators between Ujjain and its neighbouring cities.
local Auto Riksha, Tampo (Public Transport), Local Bus
food Poha-Jalabi, Dal-Bafla, Sweets

History:

The city of Ujjain is more than 5000 years old. Ujjain is mentioned in Buddhist literature as one of the four great powerful cities along with Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha with its capital as Avanti. It's religious importance extends to being one of the the fifty one Shaktipeethas ( places of worship devoted to goddess Shakti). It rests in the banks of the holy river Shipra. Ujjain is known by many names like Ujjaini, Avanti, Pratikalpa, Vishala, Kumudhati, Kushsthali, Chudamani, Kanak Srange, Padmavati. The religious text, Skanda Purana records the existence of 84 Mahadevas, 64 Yoginis, eight Bhairavas and six Vinayak temples in Ujjain. Ujjain is flanked by the shipra river to one side. The river has many Ghats for people of different sects to worship, from religious sects to the mystics. It also mentions the Kaal Bhairav temple in its Avanti Skanda chapter. The followers of Kapalika and Aghora sects used to worship Lord Shiva here. People offer liquor as part of the worship. The Kalbhairava Temple is believed to be associated with the cult of Tantra, an unorthodox secret cult with strong black magic overtones. Ujjain and Bherugarh are also darkly known for these practitioners of occult and the dubious cremation grounds, peppered with the tales of king Vikramaditya and vampire spirit Betaal.

Geography:

Ujjain lies in the Malwa plateau in central India at an average elevation of 500 mts. The river Shipra borders a side of the city. The landscape slopes towards the north and is covered with black stony soil. The main crops grown here are Soybean, wheat, jowar and bajra and the vegetation is sparse with thorny trees like Babul and Acacia. The region is one of the prominent centres of Opium production in the world. Behrugarh is situated about 6 kms north of Ujjain,across the bend of river Shipra. It is embraced by another looping bend of the river. The landscape grows more spacious and agricultural between the city limits of Ujjain and the beginnings of Behrugarh. Once the river is crossed and Behrugarh is entered, a huge wall of the Behrugarh jail looks down upon the entrant.

Environment:



Infrastructure:

Ujjain is a major agricultural and textile trade centre. Being the district headquarters, it is well endowed with the basic infrastructure. It is well connected by rail directly to major Indian cities through the Western Railways. The strong road network is connected to Indore through SH-27 and SH-18. It has no national highway connectivity. Ujjain receives electricity from the Gandhi Sagar Dam on Chambal River. The flourishing industries here are cotton ginning and milling, oilseed milling, hand weaving and the manufacture of metal ware, tiles, hosiery, confectionery, strawboard and batteries.The Ujjaini suburb of Behrugarh is well known for its chippas or dyers and printers.

Architecture:

Ujjain brims with great examples of ancient temple architecture. The dominant Maratha rule in the beginning of the 17th century is what gave birth to a culture of temple architecture. The Jyotirling Mahakaleshwar and Har Siddhi temples were re-constructed during this period. Another temple, Gopal Mandir, now situated in the main market was also constructed during that period. This period saw the blend of two different styles - Maratha and Malwa. The examples of Maratha style are found in the temples of Ram Janardan, Kal Bhairava, Kalpeshwar and Tilakeshwar, while the traditional Malwa style can be seen in the Sandipani Ashram and in many large houses of the local seths/affluent men. In the Maratha period, the art of woodwork also developed as a skillful craft. They adorned the galleries and balconies of this period.

Culture:

The culture of this Malwa region is a significant mix of surrounding influences. Gujarati and Rajasthani culture is present due to their geographic proximity, whereas the Marathi influence is the effect of the rule of the Marathas. Marwadi and Malvi is spoken which belongs to the Rajasthani group of languages. The food in the region too has the flavours of both Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine. The people follow a vegetarian diet with very few exceptions. Owing to the dry climate, the cuisine mostly contains storable dry foods. The bhutta ri kees (made with grated corn roasted in ghee and later cooked in milk with spices) constitutes a typical snack of Malwa. People make chakki ri shaak from a wheat dough by washing it under running water, steaming it and then used it in a gravy of curd. The traditional bread of Malwa, called baati/bafla, essentially a small, round ball of wheat flour, roasts over dung cakes in the traditional way. The art and literature culture is very strong in this region. Malwa was the centre of Sanskrit literature around the Gupta period. The celebrated playwright Kalidasa, hails from this region. There are many indigenous festivals celebrated. The Gana-gour festival honours Shiva and Parvati. Parvati, also called Rano Bai, in this region was believed to be married off to Rajasthan but had a strong attachment to Malwa. She was allowed to visit Malwa once a year. Gana-gour celebrates these annual visits. Ghadlya is another festival celebrated by the girls of this region. They gather in the evenings to visit every house in the village, carrying earthen pots. These pots contain lit oil lamps and have holes for the light to shine through. They recite poetry and songs in front of the houses, and are gifted with food or money in return. The Govardhan festival is celebrated on the 16th day of the Kartika (October/November) month. The Bhil tribes of the region celebrate by singing Heeda (songs to the cattle) and the Chandrawali (songs about Krishna's romance) are sung by the women of the tribe. Traditionally, the Banjara marriages are frequently held in the rains, a season forbidden to other Hindus, but naturally the most convenient to them because in the dry weather they are usually travelling. For the marriage ceremony they pitch tents in lieu of the marriage hall.The Banjara weddings have unique features. On the wedding day, the bride and the groom exchange seven round balls made of rice, ghee and sugar. After this, the couple holds hands and together do seven rounds of pounding grain with the large pestles. In the Banjara culture, death is not taken harshly but revered without mourning. It is accepted as an important part of the life cycle and a mode for the people to attain salvation. Untimely and unnatural deaths are however feared since the people who die this way turn into poltergeists and harmful spirits.

People:

The culture of this Malwa region is a significant mix of surrounding influences. Gujarati and Rajasthani culture is present due to their geographic proximity, whereas the Marathi influence is the effect of the rule of the Marathas. Marwadi and Malvi is spoken which belongs to the Rajasthani group of languages. The food in the region too has the flavours of both Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine. The people follow a vegetarian diet with very few exceptions. Owing to the dry climate, the cuisine mostly contains storable dry foods. The bhutta ri kees (made with grated corn roasted in ghee and later cooked in milk with spices) constitutes a typical snack of Malwa. People make chakki ri shaak from a wheat dough by washing it under running water, steaming it and then used it in a gravy of curd. The traditional bread of Malwa, called baati/bafla, essentially a small, round ball of wheat flour, roasts over dung cakes in the traditional way. The art and literature culture is very strong in this region. Malwa was the centre of Sanskrit literature around the Gupta period. The celebrated playwright Kalidasa, hails from this region. There are many indigenous festivals celebrated. The Gana-gour festival honours Shiva and Parvati. Parvati, also called Rano Bai, in this region was believed to be married off to Rajasthan but had a strong attachment to Malwa. She was allowed to visit Malwa once a year. Gana-gour celebrates these annual visits. Ghadlya is another festival celebrated by the girls of this region. They gather in the evenings to visit every house in the village, carrying earthen pots. These pots contain lit oil lamps and have holes for the light to shine through. They recite poetry and songs in front of the houses, and are gifted with food or money in return. The Govardhan festival is celebrated on the 16th day of the Kartika (October/November) month. The Bhil tribes of the region celebrate by singing Heeda (songs to the cattle) and the Chandrawali (songs about Krishna's romance) are sung by the women of the tribe. Traditionally, the Banjara marriages are frequently held in the rains, a season forbidden to other Hindus, but naturally the most convenient to them because in the dry weather they are usually travelling. For the marriage ceremony they pitch tents in lieu of the marriage hall.The Banjara weddings have unique features. On the wedding day, the bride and the groom exchange seven round balls made of rice, ghee and sugar. After this, the couple holds hands and together do seven rounds of pounding grain with the large pestles. In the Banjara culture, death is not taken harshly but revered without mourning. It is accepted as an important part of the life cycle and a mode for the people to attain salvation. Untimely and unnatural deaths are however feared since the people who die this way turn into poltergeists and harmful spirits.

Famous For:

~ Ujjain is famous for its Mahakaleshwar temple. The deity is Mahakala, the lord of time and death. It is believed to be one of the 12 Jyothirlingas in India. Jyorthirlingas are shrines where Lord Shiva's lingam or phallus is worshipped in the form of a 'Lingam of light'. This is believed to be Swayambhu or born of itself deriving currents of power (shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams which are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti. The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti, facing the south. This temple is a very significant part of the Tantric tradition. ~ Maha Kumbh, the largest religious congregation on earth, takes place in this region. In the holy scripture, Bhagavatha purana, it is said that when the demons gain power over the world and the demigods grow weak, Lord Brahma and Shiva advice them to pray to the Sustainer Lord Vishnu. This event is celebrated as the Maha Kumbh. The mela's venue is determined by the position of Brihaspathi (Jupiter) and the sun. When the sun is position in Scorpio (Vrishchik Rashi) the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain. ~ Ujjain is also well known for the swayambhu Chintamani Ganesh temple.Riddhi & Siddhi, the two goddesses are enshrined on both sides of the icon of Ganesh. The deity is known to be prayed to for relieving worldly anxieties. There is a water tank present here called the Ban-Ganga. It is believed to have sprung out when Lakshman shot an arrow into the earth to get water out when Lord Ram was thirsty. ~ The Siddhavat Mandir is a well known place of pilgrimage in Ujjain. The tradition here is such that all the trees are considered immortal and worshipped as the Kalpavriksha, a divine tree which fulfills wishes. ~ The Mangalnath Mandir is the birthplace of Mangal graha or the planet mars, according to the Matsya puran ( Hindu scripture). Devotees flock to the temples on Tuesdays (Mangalvar).Ujjain was an important centre for astronomical study in ancient times, and this temple which is located on a hillock is said have provided a clear view of Mars. ~ Sandipani Ashram in Ujjain is believed to be where Lord Krishna and Sudama studied under the tutelage of Guru Sandipani. This fact from the Mahabharata proves that apart from being a centre of great political and religious importance, Ujjain was also a great seat of learning. ~ Kaliyadah Palace, the ruins of a once majestic sun temple exist in Ujjain. Its magnificence is described in the Skanda Purana. People from nearby villages hold religious baths in one of the tanks known as the Surya Kunda. The main structure of the temple is, however, is in ruins and is eroded over time by the river. ~ Gopal Mandir is another religious destination. It is a huge temple constructed by Bayajibai Shinde, the queen of Maharajah Daulat Rao Shinde in the 19th century. This beautiful example of Maratha architecture is situated in the middle of a spacious market square. ~ The holy river Shipra is bordered by several Ghats(a platform with a series of steps leading into the water). There are separate Ghats devoted to each community, where they come and carry out their rituals and prayers. ~ Ujjain also boasts of the Bharthari caves, an ancient site claiming to contain tunnels which lead directly to the Char dham (four seats of pilgrimage revered by the Hindus -Badrinath, Dwarka, Jagannath Puri, and Rameshwaram). The channels were later shut down by the Britishers when they colonized India. Vedha Shala or the observatory was built in the 1720s by the Rajput king Raja Jai Singh who was a great patron of astrono.

Craftsmen

List of craftsmen.

Documentation by:

Team Gaatha

Process Reference:

Cluster Reference:

(Date: 05.10.2013) http://books.google.co.in/books?id=PTWCdoqEUbsC&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=people+and+culture+ujjain+malwa&source=bl&ots=VCIAiSAllc&sig=az1j9lTyGXjQriB8Hbg8JH2jzB4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=8wmtUJuhKMiJrAfokIFo&ved=0CGwQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=people and culture ujjain malwa&f=false (Date: 05.10.2013) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ujjain#Transport (Date: 05.10.2013) http://www.indianetzone.com/40/malwa_plateau.htm (Date: 05.10.2013) http://www.indiadivine.org/showthread.php?t=437457 (Date: 05.10.2013) http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Malwa_(Madhya_Pradesh)#Culture

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