We are surrounded by stories and not all of them involve words. In fact, the best stories don’t even require ink to be written down. The weaver community of Jaipur has been dubbed as the ‘Creative Caste’ by my father Mr. Nand Kishore Chaudhary, the founder of Jaipur Rugs. The creative people weave amazing tales with their loom.
In the words of my father, fondly referred to as NKC, the world needs to celebrate the existence of immense creative potential that lies in the grassroots. In every knot of every rug and every carpet, lies the evidence of the skill and talent in the hands of the weavers. Every single thread; every single knot unravels the story of the weaver who has put the exquisite piece of rug together.
The weavers of Jaipur Rugs come from humble backgrounds, subject to cruel circumstances. This story began with the installment of the first loom at my father’s house, 30 years ago. He started with a simple purpose, to create and serve the community of weavers. But due to the social stigma attached with the weavers, he had to face a lot of pressure from those around him. It was that pressure that drew him to come up with the concept of the ‘Creative Caste’.
Creative Caste, as a terminology, came into existence in our lives when my father recruited the weavers of Jaipur to work with him. The idea was to separate them from the stigma of being scheduled caste, which is the community almost all our weavers belong to. The Creative Caste has become a tool that uplifts and empowers the weavers who are associated with us.
Our consumers connect with the emotions of the weavers while choosing rugs to decorate their living spaces. This is something we aim to do when we showcase living stories behind the hand knotted rugs. We try to immerse our patrons into the stories of the weavers. The weavers from the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes travel with us often for exhibitions and meet consumers and recite their stories. They feel empowered as they weave their way to a more dignified way of life. They are given the liberty and freedom to create their own designs for the rugs from the comfort of their homes. This gives them the space to spin their own tales.
The society has long since seen different people with different eyes. We need to start appreciating this art that is slowly dying; the art of hand weaving rugs on a loom, one knot at a time. In a country like India, people are often classified basis one’s lineage or family. Before an individual can grow as a person, his/her existence is already stereotyped courtesy his/her lineage or family- more precisely termed as caste. It is something we need to start looking past and looking at the skill and the art that is at the heart and be more receptive to the caste we all fondly call ‘The Creative Caste’.
Mr. Yogesh Chaudhary
Director Sales & Marketing, Jaipur Rugs