Meet Subadani Devi, Who’s Enabling Manipuri Weavers To Keep Traditional Handlooms Alive
- IWB Post
- October 5, 2019
A recipient of Padma Shri Award (2018), the Sant Kabir Award (2011), and the National Award (1993), Langpoklakpam Subadani Devi is known for her contribution to the art of weaving and for promoting and preserving handlooms in a traditional way.
It was at a young age of 10 when Subadani took up weaving as a hobby which she learnt from her mother and aunt. Taking her interest to the next level, she set up Nongdol Lairembi Weavers’ Co-operative Society in 1983 in Imphal, getting many women on board.
Considering the lack of a proper platform for local weavers to market their finished products, Subadani’s entrepreneurial initiatives have helped them by taking the garments to state-level markets like the annual Manipur Sangai Festival and national exhibitions and export fairs around the country.
Subadani has been instrumental in keeping alive the Manipuri designs and textiles. In 2008, she served as an evaluator at the Textile Meeting in Imphal where she petitioned for the inclusion of the centuries-old Wangkhei phee (a sheet design of white cotton, originally made in muslin), Shaphee Lanphee (a traditional black and red textile embroidered with religious motifs) and Moirang phee (a woven border design originating in Moirang) in the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act.
Talking about how she plans to uplift the community of weavers, Subadani shared, “I want to do more for the local weavers, establish more centres and teach them what I know, so that I may help them achieve all that I have achieved.”