Millennium Post

Lost to change

Lost to change

Climate change may be a modern-day phenomena known to rapidly alter the face of the earth and create situations that often find mankind off-guard; but about as swift is the change in preferences of people which significantly alter the market demand. One such example is the kammadlu quilt of Andhra Pradesh that is staring at a dwindling market owing to falling supply of black sheep wool. This is a fine art of the state, supposedly nearing its extinction. The diminishing supply of the raw material is attributed to that fact that shepherds are now turning to rearing red sheep as that matures faster than black sheep. This particular kammadlu quilt is made only from the wool of black sheep. Parla village of Andhra Pradesh was once renowned for weaving kammadlu quilts, and housed over 400 people involved in this art – but now, it houses only a few dozen still engaged in this work. A lack of raw material for this pursuit lends a glimpse into the changing economic status of the region and points to several other changes that occur due to a dependence on traditional crafts. Two kinds of quilts known in the southern state are kammadi and jadi. Jadi is a blanket and kammadi doubles up as a ceremonial shawl presented to dignitaries as well as one for protection against the weather. Kammadi is frequently sited at religious celebrations and its demand rises after Diwali when numerous indigenous festivals in Telangana state and Rayalaseema are celebrated. In Telangana, this quilt is known as gongali. In the last few decades, the gongali was popularised by the Telangana balladeer Gaddar, who still wears it during his performances. The story of this vanishing quilt takes one's attention towards the fast-changing lifestyles and reckless modernisation that carelessly leave behind several systems of regional developments and cultural heritage. A quilt is always replaceable but the heritage of a system that contributes to the local economy and lends identity to the local people should be preserved.

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