Ingauselie or “Apai” as she is fondly addressed by many of her neighbours and well wishers including her four grandchildren, has always been keeping alive the tradition of handweaving or handloom for the many past years dating back to her early childhood.
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent
The handloom or weaving industry in the country has been one of the major sectors in boosting its economy, while the same industry has been taken over by products made with mechanized technology. However, a lady in her early sixties belonging to Naga Zeme community has been into making tireless efforts not only to retain the handloom tradition but also to revive the same in Nagaland and Manipur.
Ingauselie or “Apai” as she is fondly addressed by many of her neighbours and well wishers including her four grandchildren, has always been into the practice of handweaving or handloom for the many past years dating back to her early childhood.
With her expert hands in the loin which has been well-demonstrated through the traditional motifs being used in her weaving especially the Cowrie, this lady said that her “hard-task” into practicing the old tradition of handloom or loin for the past many decades is to let the old tradition be revived again so that the children of today’s technology driven world could imprint in themselves the legacy of the rich culture which the Nagas are known all over the world.
A native of Yangkhullen (Ze-Mnui) village, under the administration of Senapatti, Manipur, this sexagenarian lady also pointed out that though the Nagas are indeed gifted with inborn talents in whatever they want to pursue as a career, but lamented that the very industry (heirloom or handloom) is near to its “extinction” which needed to be addressed or discussed amongst.
Ingausielie was also of the view that the loin loom should be encouraged instead of the shuttle loom amongst the youngsters of the state so as to encourage them in reviving the old traditions.
Despite being in her 60s, the lady who is also into pig-farming is also assisted by her only child, Awang, in promoting the very art of the loin loom along with the designs and others.
Expert at weaving the patterns and motifs of any of the more than the 17 recognized tribes in Nagaland and Manipur with additional sub-tribes that celebrates the union of the inhabitants cutting across the unity and diversity of the states, Ingauseilie has also the distinction of weaving the many of the shawls or mekhalas of varied designs or patterns which are worn by the many Naga tribes and also of other communities in the Northeast.
Natural-born artists or weaver, she has been bestowed with the best of both nature and skills, and yet, the handloom, and arts and crafts sector, in the state has been for want of investment and direction from the central as well as the state government which she candidly disclosed.
One important advice as she cited was that she wants to pass on the very technique of the almost lost hand weaving to the future generations.