Vasundhara Raje, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan has signed on Bangladeshi designer – Bibi Russell to promote Rajasthan’s handloom and handicraft. Raje intends to promote Rajasthan’s Khadi and Kota Doria through Russell who will help improvising weaving and processing techniques and introduce contemporary styles. The CM will initiate the ‘Rajasthan Handloom and Handicraft Week’ with a show in Bangalore in January 2015, followed with other shows in the country.
Why do we need a Bibi Russell when we have equally competent designers in India who are more clued in with Khadi and other Rajasthani traditional textile? Agree Russell is a good designer known for her work with organic fabric but then so are Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rahul Mishra and Abraham & Thakore who have been doing great work with handloom and Khadi. Russell is definitely past her prime! ‘Make In India’ mantra of Prime Minister Modi doesn’t mean that India deprives its own talent to promote crafts that are Indian.
Bibi Russell is already on the project for the past three months. CM Raje could have done better by at least inviting proposals from designers, Indian and International and then selecting the best. Inviting her friend Bibi Russell and offering her a lucrative project funded by the State exchequer does not go down well with me. It lacks transparency and smells of favouritism.