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Normally associated with cricket, the Mumbai Cricket Association premises in suburban Bandra was awash with handloom sarees in all hues. The occasion was the launch of the Mumbai and Pune chapters of the 'Six Yards and 365 Days', a Facebook campaign started to revive the use of handloom sarees and help handloom weavers earn their livelihood. "We started this campaign on Facebook in 2015, inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Digital India' initiative and took the social media path to connect with women who wear sarees," Sunita Budhiraja said at the launch event here on Saturday. "We are making efforts to support weavers and handloom sarees through the Facebook campaign 'Six Yards and 365 Days'," Budhiraja, a communications professional for over 40 years, told PTI. "It is amazing that what started with just four members including myself now has 23,000 members world wide," she said. The Mumbai launch event had Budhiraja draping her 600th handloom saree and many others draping their 100th, 200th, and 300th sarees. "We have members spread across the world, from the US, Canada, UK, Middle East, Dubai, Australia and also our neighbouring countries," she said. "Well known Pakistani author Rumana Husain recently posted her photo on our group wearing her 100th handloom saree," she added. Bela Sanghvi, a revivalist of Patan Patola sarees, said, "For the last four decades, we are into revival of handlooms." The launch event also had a presentation on the journey of handloom revival and a quiz on handlooms, besides a ramp walk by women wearing Maharashtrian sarees. "The younger generation which was moving away from the handloom sarees has now evinced a keen interest and many young women are part of the Facebook group," Budhiraja said. "Because of the decrease in demand, our weavers have gone on to choose better paying avenues and moved to cities," she said. "I draped my first handloom saree in 1970.
My mother and my grandmother wore only handlooms since my grandfather had looms in Lahore before moving to India during partition. My mother wore sarees when she was in Delhi or Tokyo University teaching Hindi to Japanese students," she said. The members are from different walks of life and include high-profile artistes and artists, authors, theatre persons, educationists, entrepreneurs, doctors, NGO workers, communication professionals, housewives and weavers, who belong to underpaid, middle and low income groups, she said.