Sharmila Tagore will reminisce her great grandfather Gaganendranath Tagore’s involvement with Bengal Home Industries Association — he was one of the founders — at an event at Taj Bengal on October 26 to commemorate the organisation’s centenary year.
The evening will see some of the city’s leading ladies draped in traditional weaves and textiles.
“The Bengal Home Industries was set up during the Swadeshi movement when a bunch of enlightened people got together not just to boycott and burn foreign goods but to promote Indian products. They wanted to make them better, well-known and give them an outlet,” explained P.C. Mahtab, president of the association.
The association set up an outlet for weavers and craftsmen in 1917 under Lady Carmichael, wife of the then governor of Bengal, on what was then Hogg Street. After recording huge footfall and sales, the outlet shifted to Lower Circular Road before relocating to its present address on Camac Street. Patrons and committee members of the association included the likes of The Maharani of Cooch Behar, Maharajadhiraja Bahadur of Burdwan and Dr Nilratan Sircar.
The aim of the association has been to promote and develop cottage industries, arts and crafts. Craftsmen from eastern India will showcase their products and their artistry at the centenary programme, where Sharmila Tagore will be the chief guest.
“The items will also be on sale. We want to engage the youth and set up a larger shop in future to regain visibility,” said G.M. Kapur, member of the association’s executive committee and convener for The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach).