| Siya Ram Mahto shows the flag at his residence at Madhubani Ashram village. Picture by Rakesh Sinha |
A symbol of national integration has been born on a handloom at Madhubani Ashram village in this district.
Siya Ram Mahto, a weaver in his forties, dreams that his unique creation, a 2ftx3ft single-piece khadi Tricolour, would flutter proudly from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi or at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Independence Day or Republic Day.
The National Flag is usually made of three pieces of saffron, white and green cloth and stitched together.
Mahto’s Tricolour, however, stands apart. It is made of a single piece using the colours and woven in one length without being stitched together.
Mahto, who completed a two-year entrepreneurship training programme in weaving at Madhubani Khadi Ashram in his own village around a decade ago, claims that such a stitch-free Tricolour has been woven for the first time.
Following the massive earthquake in 1934, Mahatma Gandhi had set up the ashram to generate employment opportunities for locals. It was once famous for quality khadi production, particularly moonga silk.
On the fruits of his grit, hard labour and dedication, Mahto said: “I had to use khadi thread worth Rs 2,200 on my handloom for weaving three sample flags on a trial basis before I could churn out the final Tricolour at the fourth attempt. I had to be extra careful to avoid making any disregard towards it.”
The weaver embroidered the Ashok Chakra at the centre of the flag with navy blue thread.
Sharing details of his ultimate aim, Mahto said: “I made this fourth Tricolour on a trial basis. Its dimensions could be increased according to requirement. The final version of the National Flag would be woven in one piece shortly. Once it gets the opportunity to take part on special occasions such as Independence Day or Republic Day in Patna or Delhi, we would ensure that be free from even minor manufacturing errors.”
On an assuring note, Mahto added: “I would weave the flags in a size of around 30x45ft.”
For the past five years, Mahto has been taking part in the World Trade Fair held at the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi every year and receiving certificates of participation.
“The district rural development authority sends at least two participants every year from here. I have represented the district at the Saras Mela and the Rajgir Mahotsav too,” said the excited weaver.
“I have also told the district manager of the district industries centre about my unique creation and have sought his co-operation to project this at the state- and national-level but nothing could be done so far,” Mahto lamented.
In spite of repeated attempts, Umesh Kumar, the district manager of the District Industries Centre, could not be contacted regarding co-operation extended to the weaver.