Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Solapur: No Identity Crisis


Where do you come from? What is your native place? Which place do you belong to? These are a few questions I’m frequently encountered with. And my answer to this is ‘Solapur’. Quite a times a response to this answer is very annoying, sometimes satisfactory and just once was funny.

“Oh! Ya! Solapur, the place famous for chappals. Right?”
“No. That’s Kolhapur. And it is Kolhapuri chappals”, I answer back, “Jar Kolhapur Maharashtra-la chappal ghalta, tar Solapur akkhya Maharashtra-war panghrun ghalta.

“Solapur and Kolhapur is very close by na?”
“No. It’s quite far away”, plainly I answer.
I accept that my geographical knowledge is not awesome, but I would never ask stupid questions like: “Is Ahmedabad close to Ahmednagar?” or “Are Jamshedpur and Jabalpur twin cities?” I’m almost sure that people who ask such questions do not know that Hyderabad and Secundrabad are twin cities.
Once I also got a witty reply saying, “Toh Satrapur kahan aata hai?”
I never had thought ‘Solapur’ (16 pur) in Hindi! :)
“I know, Solapur. It comes on the way to Chennai by rail! You get amazing pav-bhaji at the station.”
Wow! That’s something I didn’t know. I never had a chance to eat at the station. Yes, being an important junction, people traveling by train atleast know that there is this place called Solapur on the way and that one must try the yummy pav-bhaji there. Well, it is not so famous as the ‘Agre (Agra) ka petha’, ‘Lonavala chi chikki’ or ‘Shegaon chi kachori’.
“Solapur, it is famous for chaddars, right?”
“Yes”, I reply blissfully and thankfully.
Either people are not aware or either that ‘striking something’ is missing in Solapur. Yes, there is something and needs to be made striking enough. Here, I do not wish to write a boring document on Solapur, but to add a few things I cherish about my native place…
Solapur proudly houses one of the oldest temples in the Deccan, the beautiful Siddheshwar Temple. The temple is situated at the center of a lake with a fort lined at its backdrop. It is a pleasant ambiance especially in the evenings. I did not miss to capture a few scenes from in and around the temple as my treasured landscape paintings.

Solapur is located in south Maharashtra and thus many of its attributes have influences from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Three states, three cultures and three languages all at one place i.e. Solapur. An anthropologist will surely love this place.
Last but not the least is the weaving industry in Solapur. “A great opportunity under estimated by the textile people themselves”, is all what I can as of now. I wish to change this statement of mine in to a very affirmative one soon and am striving towards it. As I have decided, I won’t go into passive things and wonder about how things happen. I just know that it is an opportunity which I cannot afford missing and I also believe in what Winston Churchill says: “Who dares wins.”

A Jacquard fabric woven in Solapur

Anu writs a short and beautiful paragraph about her experience of Solapur fabrics on her blog here. I'm glad I found this post based on a personal experience. It outstands the rest of stereotypic data found on the net (atleast for me).
When I choose textiles as my career, many people pointed at me saying, “Why textiles?”, “Mills have closed down. What are you going to do?”, “Textile is going to take you nowhere.” Foolish people have forgotten that fabric/cloth is one of the basic necessities of man. Yes, mills were closed down in Solapur and even in Mumbai. Those were composite mills and had its own set of difficulties. But fabric manufacturing did not stop. Solapur did not have any other means of survival and thus it fell back. Mumbai being a metro city had a lot other threads to live on. On the same mill land today, people in Mumbai spend bundles of cash and most of the time it is for clothes and fabrics, isn’t it? High Street Phoenix, familiar as Phoenix Mill. It is called the ‘Mill to Mall’ culture in Mumbai. But I am glad that I’m into textiles. It has taken me back to my roots.


Swapnil said... [Reply]

Hey Aarti,

Thank you for sharing this article. It's neatly written and some of the things I too have come across like wrong connection between chappals and Solapur. Now I can send this URL to my friends who doesn't know about Solapur.

Aarti Badamikar said... [Reply]

Thanks Swapnil for your valuable comment. Im sure there are many more who have come across the chappal and Solapur confusion!! Its all for them ;)

Best Regards,

aayushi jindal said... [Reply]

nic article.....actly i nevr knew abt solapur b4.....n abt ppl views its more lik wen u tlk abt design ppl will relate it 2 fabric nly, dey jst use their brains 2 sum extent nly.............wao i dnt knw solapur fabrics r so intrstng n butiful.......actly u nevr tlkd abt dm......

bst of luk.....looking forward 2 c sum nic wrk in solapur chadars.....strt wrkng on dm fast......

amol said... [Reply]

Hey aarti, it's a nice article.
I was also asked the same set of questions...is it next to kolhapur...?? It's good for their knowledge bank. Keep it up!

pragati said... [Reply]

Nice Work!!!! I luv ur landscapes and i m very happy that u hve kept them alive. Feel gud.

Vishal said... [Reply]

It was really nice reading these things about solapur.. Really Nice Post.

Anu said... [Reply]

Great blog, aarti.. your paintings are wonderful!

Aarti Badamikar said... [Reply]

Thanks Anu. I'm glad to have you as a blog-pal.

sajiri said... [Reply]

Wow aarti this is amazing...even i have to answer these questions...now i will send this to all who will keep asking me.... and now i even more proud to belong to Solapur :)and yaa really awesome paintings

Dushyant said... [Reply]

Good work! Keep it up and hope we can find ways to market solapur and make it more popular.

Aarti Badamikar said... [Reply]

Some more comments on this post from facebook:

Nikhil Almeida says: nice write up Aarts... I too get many weird answers in the context u mentioned... Never thought of penning my frustration down.

Yashmi Prasad says: oye was at solapur stn a week ago while coming to blore from mumbai...

Harish Jakkal says: proud to be a solapurkar...

Anand sangam says: great work aarti...awesome..

Gaurav Madan says: 16pur rocks

Keyuri Dalvi says: Hey Rt! I am very glad to read these same Experiences we often get encountered by ppl :) Aaplyala ata solapurvar 'Pangharun' ghatall pahije ! wat say?

Andre D'Souza says: we were very pleased to see a sholapur bedsheet draped over a bed in a display bedouin tent in the Dubai Museum. And even more pleased to see them in Lulu Hypermarket.

Andre D'Souza says: looks forward to visiting sholapur

Charles Liu says: Imagine the looks/stares/gasps I get when I say I am a Chinese from Solapur >.>

Swapnil Shinde says: Nice article!!!

Umesh Naik says: Nice Blog....Good wrk////

Aarti Badamikar said... [Reply]

Other friends say..

Tarjani Deodhar says: god one.. looks like a start of our mission..! Looks like..!!

Nripen Kulkarni says: Nice. Well written. They're my thoughts exactly. Esp stuff about kolhapur.. :-)

Niteen Rangdal says: hey aarti
i loved that write up. wish i could help you in your mission. all the best.

Rujuta said... [Reply]

Great job girl; indeed very well written. I loved all the Siddheshwar temple paintings and the pic of chadder design its so common but you have made it look damn neat. Proud of you! Keep up the good work! Way to go!!!

Anonymous said... [Reply]

As all above have already commented on how nicely you have written the article, I hope my adding something will not be superflous.
Its really nice and unnerving at the same time to see how far you have come Aarti.Never really saw you as a romantic so in love with nature and art.Its a good thing you chose design as your field of study.
I look forward to read more of your articles.
and choose to be anonymous for I know whats good for me. :)

rohit said... [Reply]

(Tula marathi yet asel asa gruhit dharatoy)
Swapnil ne mala ha duva(link) pathavala hota.
Chhaan lihilay! Ekdum saadha, sopa ani Manapasun!
Chitra hi lai bhari aaahet!
lekhak+chitrakaar bhari yog aahe.
Pratyek chitrat yenara kaala khadak! vegalepan dakhavato.
Ajun lekhanchya(solapur varil) pratikshet!
Solapurkar Rohit.

Aarti Badamikar said... [Reply]

@ Rohit:
Marathi aikun khup bara vatla. Evdhya stuti baddal aabhar.
Lekhak vagaire asa far kahi nahi...fakta avad mhanun :) pan Solapur var ankin kahi nakki vachala milel :)

Helga Govindan said... [Reply]

That was a nice write-up on Solapur. Indeed, for some of our fellow Indians, geography has become history!You have highlited this point very nicely.

After you finish with himroo, you must try to document the present condition of the textile industry in Solapur. Definitely, this region needs to come out of the eclipse in which it has been hidden all along. Long ago, all south-bound trains would pass through stations like Jalgaon and I remember Solapur coming on the way. However,the train trundling past the Solapur station has just become just a hazy memory now. The opening up of the Konkan route is responsible for that!!! I guess the Konkan region has a magic and allure of its own.

I loved the paintings you included in this write-up. Aarti, an entire lifespan is laid before you to explore!! Just do not limit yourself to exploring the world of textiles, be bold enough to come up with your own style of painting. Don't dismiss it off by saying 'Painting is just a hobby of mine', just as many people write in their biodata section on 'Hobbies'. They hardly realize that their barely intelligent employer hardly bothers whether they paint pictures or paint walls!!!

Good work!!!!

vaishali said... [Reply]

Hey aarti, it is a real and very genuine attempt by you to get back the glory of our lost heritage,
I am very sure all solapurkars are proud of you,
and I think it is need for all of us to realise our roots and firmly stand for the place we are born.
than it doesn't really matter if it is solapur or kolhapur or any other place.
all the best

Rujulee said... [Reply]

Hey RT, Thank u for sharing this article for those who r confused between chappals n solapur. Solapurat rahun solapuri chadari waparlya pan kadhi tya chadari itkya sundar dislyA nahi jitkya tuzhya photo madhe distat. ajun sudha my friends ask me abt the same,solapur is place where we get chappals na. Ata tyana answer karayla sopa zhala.
Keep it up sis.. asach chaan chaan amhala vachayla milude.


Tina said... [Reply]

Interesting read...good work keep it up!
Textile Designer

Aarti Badamikar said... [Reply]

Thanks Tina!
Glad to have u as a visitor...keep vising my blog.

Avinash said... [Reply]

Hi Aarti....
this confusion about solapur is ubiquitous. last ten years i've been in different cities outside maharashtra & i've heard the same thing everywhere.... be it gujrat, karnataka or andhra pradesh... but the most common was andhra... many hyderabadis think that solapur is famous for chappals....
to enlighten you & readers of this blog... some great chappal vendors in hyderabad, especially koti & SD road sell kolhapuri chappals in hte name of solapuri chappals. u'll find many a shops flashing a board of "famous solapuri chappals".
& u know to add spice to this misreputationof solapur, the ubiquitousness of andhraite community all over the world (not only india) is greatly responsible. stupid fellows don't even know that solapur is famous for the business controlled by their own fraternity...
anyways... liked ur blog & the paintings too.
keep it up.

Aarti Badamikar said... [Reply]

Hey Avinash!
That's really amusing to know... indeed very hilarious. I am definitely gonna find out these places in Hyderabad in my next visit... and then I will post these pictures which will add to the ambiguity but in a different sense.
Thanks so much.
Keep visiting :)

Avinash said... [Reply]

hi aarti,
i'm not sure whether those shops are still there or not; coz i left hyderabad in 2002. but if they are... u'll find them on SD (Sarojini Devi) road... somewhere opposite to manju theatre & also in Sultanbazar & Koti ( nr women's college).
well... i felt the same thing when i first saw this, but din't ever ask why it is so. (may be kolhapur is too far for hyderabadis to even imagine that these chappals might be coming from there).
the "pav-bhaji" identity of solapur is more common with north indians occasionally travelling by udayn or chennai or KK express. i happened to meet a bengali couple on my trip to madurai & kanyakumari. although we started our journey from bangalore somehow they knew solapur... thanks to "Pav-bhaji"
i just smiled for a moment & thought that the pav bhaji they r talking about is the same which harbours a huge tornado of dirty flies... somehow disappearing at the arrival of the train... (why not...? arrival of train brings them more delicious food!!!!)... flies somehow are traders' friends since they know when to come & when not to...
but... nevertheless... solapur is really famous for the chadders. apart from the occasional travellers there is a large number of population which really knows what is solapur's speciality.
let's hope solapur becomes more n more famous in the right way for the future to come.


Aarti Badamikar said... [Reply]

Loved the way you have built the *fly* story line!!!
And yes... CHEERS to Solapur!!! :)

Ashu said... [Reply]
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vishaljagtap said... [Reply]

hi aarti ,
mast lihila aahes...tuza solapuracha bahimaan hyatun disun yeto...aani tuza kaam pan chaan aahe...
me too from solapur n a designer ...i run my own brand called okaka chek my web www.okaka.co.in
nice to read ur blog ...keep the spirit


MaheswariPanda said... [Reply]

आरती जी में द्वारका गुजरात का रहने वाला हू
लेकिन मेरा सोलापुर से बहोत गहरा नाता है जुनी मिल का और सिध्देश्वर का पिक्चर देख पुरानी यादे ताजा हो गई बहुत सुंदर ... धन्यवाद !

9XMIBN said... [Reply]
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9XMIBN said... [Reply]
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Virag Kulkarni said... [Reply]

Hey Arati Nice to find you on Net, Ani khup chan lihle ahes, Styaing out from Solapur I also face the same kind of questions ,ani vachun khup chaan vatla