About Syahi Begar Print (Tarapur Village)
It is a very small village situated on the banks of “Ghambhiri” river having population of 2500 to 3000. Tarapur is 270 kilometers away from Indore the industrial capital of Madhya Pradesh. It is a 400 years old traditional center of hand block printing still continuing the tradition of mordant based hand block printing. Mordant word is used for fixing of dyes.
Traditional hand block printing is practiced in very few places in India, and Tarapur is one of such village of Madhya Pradesh. They are still using “Kath” by fermenting jiggery powder and iron rust to prepare black color. It is also known as “Syahi” which means dense black color. When “Kath” made from iron rust mixed with jaggery solution and again mixed with tamarind seed powder to make a paste used for printing with wooden blocks on myrabalan (Harad) dyed fabric it gives a dense black color impression.
“Begar” is used for alum water mixed with tamarind seed powder to prepare a paste for printing and then dyed with alizarin to get a red or maroon color in place of printing. Now a day synthetic alizarin is used unlike 50 years ago roots of morinda tinctoria or madder roots were used.
Process of Syahi Begar Print
1st step is sizing of fabric which means fabric is cut as per the requirement.
2nd step is keeping fabric in soda ash, sea salt and castor oil solution for 48 hours. After 48 hours washing with normal water.
3rd step is dyeing with myrabalan (Harda fruit) powder solution and dried under sunlight.
4th step is printing with syahi (iron rust+jaggery mixed with tamarind seed powder paste) for black color and begar (alum mixed with tamarind seed powder paste) for red color. Keep the printed fabric in cool and dry place for 3 to 4 days.
5th step now fabric is washed in flowing water to remove extra mordant printed on the fabric.
6th step now fabric is dyed with alizarin and dhawda (Dhatki) flower to get the red color in place of alum was printed and black becomes fixed in this process. Dhatki flower helps fabric in removing the extra stains in the background during dyeing process.
7th step Fabric is going through bleaching process to remove the stains in the background and to keep background white.
History of Tarapur Chippa Community
“Chippa” community is practicing the craft of hand block printing in Tarapur since 400 years, who claims to belong to the lineage of Sant Namdev, a famous saint of “Bhakti Tradition” in India. 10-15 years back some 100 families of “Chippa community” were involved in this craft limited to the 3-4 families today. It’s all due to tough competition from the chemical screen printing and imitating of designs by machine printers selling it at cheaper prices than hand block printing. But they are still following the traditional methods in preparing the fabrics using organic process and semi-natural colors. This process requires minimum 20 days to prepare a lot of 800 meters of fabrics.