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Samatbhai Vankar

(Kantilal's father)

Interview Summary

Before departing from Sarli, Kantilal’s father Samatbhai was sitting outside the main door of his house and we quickly grabbed the opportunity of interviewing this veteran weaver. Father of five sons and three daughters, Samatbhai has no formal education but is boastful of the fact that he is well travelled and has developed contacts in Mumbai and Delhi. He said that many people appreciated his craft. He mainly wove the deshi cloth call khatha in the past and catered for local demand, particularly the people of the Patel community. He has worked mostly on a handloom and also wove the dhabda (blanket), a cloth used in various farming activities made out of the local thick thread call sutar (from the mill in Anjar). He also mentions that women used local weaving. His wife, who has passed away, helped him a lot and looked after the family as his career developed. After making his woven products, he also travelled from place to place as a peddlar.

He says in Kachchhi that his family do weaving (‘tana kadhu’) and that they have made weaving their only business (‘dada bapa and parampara’). In previous years, they were poorly-paid; for weaving fifteen metres they earned just two kori. But even those two koris made them very happy. Samatbhai frankly admits that they were not so innovative in the application of new designs and mostly followed traditional motifs. When discussing the fact that his children were extremely innovative in their development of the business and had won numerous awards, Samatbhai quickly added that he himself had also won the Gujarat State award. He nevertheless accepts the fact that his sons have considerably expanded the business.

When he was made aware that his voice was recorded he was very amused, but happily agreed to the recording, and added that had been questioned by interviewers many times during exhibitions.