Tuesday 1 February 2022

Budget 2022 - Odisha Handloom Bomkai Saree with Sambalpuri Bandha

There is an Odia saying that translated into English means- “What the mind thinks/wishes, it may receive the same.”

Today, I have ample reasons to be grateful, rejoice and celebrate wish fulfilment.

It was Budget Day and I have been sincerely wishing that our Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitaraman, would wear an Odisha Handloom Saree while presenting the budget!

Lo and behold! Imagine my surprise, pride, and happiness to see Madam dressed in one!

Nirmala Madam has often stated her love for handlooms, and she boasts of a great Saree collection– many of which are the handlooms of Odisha. She had worn a Sambalpuri Bandha Saree for her first day as Finance Minister.

Do you know the name of the Saree worn by Nirmala Ma'am today for the #Budget2022 speech?

It is a type of Odisha Handloom. But, what is the name of the type of Saree?

It is a Bomkai Saree with Sambalpuri Bandha motifs on aanchal.

We are grateful to Madam for wearing this Odisha weave. It is important to be “vocal for local” and “vocal for handmade” and support AtmaNirbhar Bharat. 

While it was great to read nice words about the rich silk weave, we found wrong or missing information in many news reports:

1. Some reports have incorrectly stated that it is Pochampally.

a. Pochampally is a type of Ikat that belongs to Telangana state.

b. Both "Pochampally Ikat" & "Orissa Ikat" have the Geographical Indications (GI) Tag.

c. Though Pochampally is distinctly different, nowadays, designs of Sambalpuri and other handlooms are being copied and woven, and being sold as “Pochampally Ikat”, which is wrong and causes infringement.

2. Some reports quoting experts have stated that Bomkai & Sambalpuri are one and the same- Bomkai (Sambalpuri)

a. Actually, they are different weaves of Odisha.

b. Further, both "Bomkai Saree & Fabrics" & "Sambalpuri Bandha Saree & Fabrics" have the GI Tag.


3. Many reports have simply described the Saree without the name. Many reports have stated the names of the previous Sarees worn (on previous years' Budget Days), but are silent about the name of this year's Saree. This year's name should have got its deserving focus too.

4. Some reports have used “Orissa”, the previous spelling of Odisha state. It was truly surprising to see big media houses like- Wionews & The Economic Times had made this mistake.

The spelling change from Orissa to Odisha has happened 11 years ago in 2011 by the efforts of Shri Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha. Despite this, many continue to use the old spelling out of ignorance or nonchalance.

We expect –correct information and proper representation.

The reason for sharing this information is because digital presence influences many.

If there is misinformation and misrepresentation and no one shares and informs, or if the correct updates are not made despite sharing, then the wrong information lasts forever in cyberspace.

Such incorrect reports will further be used to quote and will continue to be used as references in research-papers and journals in the following years that will further misinform and misrepresent.

The vicious cycle continues this way.

It is unfair that a state's name is omitted or misspelled or its handloom name is not mentioned.

The chain has to be broken somewhere and by someone.

Who will do the needful?

Who has the right knowledge and the good intention to share the correct information?


Many wrongly feel that all the Sarees of Odisha have the name- Sambalpuri!

No, it is NOT okay to call a Bomkai Saree as Sambalpuri.

Are we proud of our heritage and culture?

If we truly are, then we will never allow anyone to misspell or misrepresent.

People never take kindly when they are informed about the mistakes they are making. When it comes to influential personalities on social media, whose each and every social media post garners hundreds/thousands of views and likes, it is very dangerous.

“Half knowledge is worse than ignorance.”

No one has a right to wrongly share our treasure’s name. How about taking the help of local experts before irresponsibly sharing and wrongly influencing the public?

People will know when the correct information is shared and they are made aware.

We have always shared that when influential personalities wear and use handlooms, they positively influence others to follow their footsteps. This can be wonderful for the weavers of that particular craft or weave. We must encourage that.

Sambalpuri Bandha is very well-known already; however, Odisha’s other weaves are not well-known. Many people wouldn’t have even heard names of handlooms like- Habaspuri Saree and Fabrics, and  Dhalapathar Parda and Fabrics. Many would have perhaps heard about Bomkai for the first time today! What an opportunity we have missed to correctly promote!

Most people are absolutely fine when others refer all handlooms with the “common name” or generic name- “Sambalpuri” as if Odisha has no other handlooms or names. Each handloom has its own unique local name, which should be used.

Most call “Sambalpuri Bandha” as “Sambalpuri Ikat” or “Sambalpuri Handloom”.

It may be noted that Odisha has earned the GI tag for “Sambalpuri Bandha Saree & Fabrics”. Why cannot we use of local word – “Bandha”? The Odia word Bandha means Ikat i.e. tie-and-dye. Ikat is a Malay/Indonesian word that refers to this technique. It is high time everyone truly became “Vocal for Local” and “Vocal for GI”.

 This Twitter Thread has more information.

Had you heard of Bomkai Sarees before? Please share in the comments below.

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