Mashru/Mashroo meaning “permitted” or “this is allowed” was born due to the Muslim community’s belief that silk should not be touching a person’s skin. Honoring this belief the Mashru/Mashroo fabric was created by weavers using silk and cotton threads. This textile is simple cotton on one side and rich silk on the other. The cotton side touches the person’s skin thereby allowing Muslim’s to follow their belief as well as dress royally. The port town of Mandvi in Kutch (India) became the integral place of the Mashroo fabric creation which was very popular among both the Mulsims and Hindus.
The expert weavers from small towns of Gujrat, India mainly the towns of Mandvi and Patan practiced this craft. These weavers learnt this craft from their ancestors and excelled at it. This fabric is made of silk and cotton where silk is used as a vertical yarn and cotton as the horizontal yarn. Each silk weave goes under the cotton yarn once and about five or eight times above the cotton yarn. After the weaving process is complete the fabric is washed in cold water and beaten with wooden hammers while it is still moist. A paste of wheat flour called ‘glazing’ is then applied to the folds of the fabric. The fabric is again beaten with wooden hammers and then compressed with a hard press. Finally color of natural vegetable dyes is added to the fabric. This renders the fabric as shiny from the outside and simple and comfortable cotton on the inside. This interweaving of silk and cotton threads makes the fabric more durable.
Mashroo/Mashru fabric is on the verge of being extinct. Some reasons for this are the changes in the clothing styles of the people, power looms being used to create the Mashroo fabric at a cheaper rate as compared to the expensive handmade weaving, declining export and domestic markets thereby the Mashroo fabric lost its originality of combining silk and cotton, chemically dyed Rayon being used instead of pure silk to reduce the cost, synthetic dyes usage makes the fabric weak as compared to the natural dyes which grow richer with age. The weavers generation is one among st the last to weave this fabric in its original form and there is no one to carry on the legacy as their children have moved to urban cities to take up jobs. Therefore, this rich fabric is now losing its face in the market to other fabrics and its handmade aesthetic is dying.
To present to you this beautiful cloth which is so soft and shiny. It will help us keep this cloth from loosing it’s value and provide you with a well made material to experience. This will help us put a smile to artisans loosing hope with Mashroo cloth weaving.