Haidar Ali Arora
Haider Ali Arora hails from Gujarat and has been practising the craft for 24 years. He is a 3rd generation artist. Haider Bhai, before joining his family business, had worked in several roles such as providing delivery services, running a shop etc. With the support of his family, he joined his traditional practise and since then has been working to grow it across India. Haider has travelled and exhibited nationally and internationally in countries such as Sri Lanka and Muscat.
A country with a strong community culture has an impact on our day-to-day systems and interactions. While Haider Bhai does not have any formal associations with an organisation, he gains constant support from across the state whenever needed. He mentions how, in times of crisis, people and places in the past have provided not only advice but monetary support to tackle unseen problems. Our power to confide in people makes us unique and exemplary. During COVID, he collaborated with artisans from other crafts like Patola, Kalamkari, and Madhubani to innovate across practices.
Haider's son is now enrolled at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar as a student of Textile Design, making him the first artisan to send their children to formal design education.
Bandhej, derived from the verb bandhana, means to tie. It takes him a minimum of 8–10 days to make one piece of 2 metres. We find the use of natural colours is limited in the process as it seeps into the tied designs, making the patterns formed unclear.
"जबसे मशीन का कम बढ़ा है रोज़गार कम हो गया है। देश आगे तब बढ़ेगा जब सबको रोज़गार मिलेगा। हा मशीन से शायद बेहतर फिनिशिंग हो पर हाथ का काम तो हाथ का ही रहता है। जिन्को इसकी पहचान है वो भाव नहीं देखते।"
As machine work has increased, employment opportunities for artisans have drastically reduced. The country will progress when everyone gets employment. Yes, there may be better finishing in machine-made products, but the value of hand-made remains unmatched. Those who recognise it do not see the price.