Manasvini: Sustaining The Indian Handloom And Handicraft Industry With Power And Grace

Ankita Gupta, Founder,  Pankhuri Singhal, Co-Founder

Ankita Gupta, Founder

Pankhuri Singhal, Co-Founder

For decades, India’s rural economy has been backed by the handloom and handicraft industry. After agriculture, it is the largest employment generator offering critical means of livelihood to the country’s rural and urban population. Official estimates state that there are 7 million artisans in India, even though unofficial sources indicate that numbers are as high as 200 million. Inspired by these millions of artisans, Manasvini was born. Bolstered by the idea of empowering women in India and around the world, the name is derived from ancient Sanskrit literature which means a self-aware, strong and self-respecting woman.

Founded by architect Ankita Gupta, the Manasvini foundation Trust is aimed at providing employment opportunities to underprivileged women and marginalised society by promoting local art and handicrafts— enabling them with a platform where their works are showcased to help them build a sustainable livelihood for themselves. In the devastating pandemic situation, the Manasvini Foundation helped many underprivileged of Uttarakhand with employment through mask production, an initiative that was deeply appreciated by the Uttarakhand government.

The products showcased by Manasvini are exquisitely crafted with mostly organic and reusable materials as the base, which makes them more durable than any other material in the market while also retaining the beauty of each piece. Manasvini ‘believes in the
handloom potential’ and promotes it as their skill of choice.

Unbeknownst to many, handloom weaving involves a complicated and labourintensive process which mandates many rigorous days of work. The making of handloom fabrics typically involves pattern design, warp winding, weft patterning and dyeing. Post this, looms are loaded with the warp threads followed by weaving and ultimately uploading the fabric.

According to Ankita Gupta, “Manasvini Foundation focuses on enhancing livelihoods of artisans by enabling craft-based skill development programmes to empower women from rural areas and also to provide that support and address the challenges currently faced by artisans that seek to improve rural livelihoods in the handicrafts and handloom sectors.” She also adds, “ Our ultimate goal is to preserve the rich heritage, art and culture of India for its future generations and make conscious efforts to ensure its continuity and enhance avenues for livelihood of traditional artisans and craftsmen.”

Our ultimate goal is to preserve the rich heritage, art and culture of India for its future generations

Manasvini is also focused on hand-block printing, which has a rich heritage dating back to the 5th century BC with its roots in India. The Manasvini label offers intriguing and detailed hand-block printed rugs, bedsheets, cushion covers and curtains. Their creative designs are made with vibrant hues that add an instant zing to urban homes. This artistic range of adornments comes in various designs made from different kinds of handmade fabrics. “I call my designs The Fusion Mix as the blocks are old and traditional but the colour form I pick is quite off league,” says Ankita Gupta.

Every product is unique and has a story to tell which is both indefinable as it is beautiful. Manasvini is gaining momentum with their ideas, thoughts and efforts and gaining ground every passing day.