Suraiya Hasan Bose
A textile revivalist, Suraiya Hasan Bose played a crucial role in reviving the weaves of himroo and mashru. She promoted and popularised the handloom textiles of Andhra Pradesh and present-day Telangana in India and abroad through collaborations with master weavers, textile artisans as well as fashion brands.
Bose was born in Hyderabad to a family that was active in the Indian independence movement, particularly the Swadeshi movement, which called for a boycott of foreign-made goods. Growing up, she was dressed only in garments made of indigenous fabrics such as khadi. Influenced by these ideas, she studied textiles at the University of Cambridge University, UK and, upon her return to India, began working at the Cottage Industries Emporium that had been set up in Hyderabad by her father, Badrul Hasan.
In the mid-1950s, Bose moved to New Delhi to work under Pupul Jayakar at the Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation, where she handled the garment export unit. Over the following decade, she went on to work with other noted textile revivalists in the city, including Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and Martand Singh.
In 1972, Bose moved back to Hyderabad, where her uncle Abid Husain Safrani had purchased ten acres of land outside the city and offered a portion of it to her to set up a business. At her new workshop and showroom, she began working closely with weavers in the region, using her knowledge of the international market to develop new products with different materials and designs. One example of this is the ikat dhurrie she designed for the England-based store Habitat, which applied the ikat pattern to the cotton dhurries made in Warangal, present-day Telangana. The weavers in Warangal were trained by a master ikat weaver and the dhurries they produced were well-received abroad. Her other interventions included helping adapt the telia rumal to the structure of a saree and developing new block prints for kalamkari fabrics in Machilipatnam. She promoted handlooms woven in Andhra Pradesh through collaborations with brands such as Fabindia and through her own export business, Deccan Exports, which she set up in 1982.
At her weaving unit, established near her uncle’s homel, Bose worked to revive the intricate himroo fabric, which had historically enjoyed the patronage of the Nizam of Hyderabad but had since suffered a decline. She tracked down old samples of it, researched and catalogued their design graphs (jaalas), and invited master weavers such as Abdul Qadir and Syed Omar to develop new designs and train others in the craft. She also initiated a similar project for the revival of the mashru weave, in addition to which her unit also included looms that could produce paithani borders and telia rumals. One of the pieces from her unit was included in the The Fabric of India (2015) exhibition, which took place at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK.
Bose passed away in September, 2021.
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