Chakma’s introduction to weaving started when she was a little child, observing her grandmother use ancient Naga techniques to skillfully run the loinloom, one of the earliest weaving machines.
Smriti Rekha Chakma, a well-known Tripuran Chakma Loinloom Shawl Weaver, is the recipient of the esteemed Padma Shri Award 2024. Known as “Chakma’s Rekha,” she has dedicated her life to creating magnificent traditional patterns using cotton threads coloured with vegetables in an environmentally responsible manner.
Chakma’s introduction to weaving started when she was a little child, observing her grandmother use ancient Naga techniques to skillfully run the loinloom, one of the earliest weaving machines. She not only carries on this rich tradition but also shares her expertise with the younger generation, being sixty-three years old now.
Smriti Rekha Chakma, who ventures into the forests to gather roots, seeds, herbs, or leaves for dying, has emerged as a champion of sustainable methods. She emphasises the use of organic dyes in her designs through a methodical procedure that includes crushing, drying, and extracting colour from natural sources.
In addition to her creative abilities, Chakma founded “Ujeia Jadha,” a sociocultural organisation that teaches weaving to rural women with the goal of empowering them. She wants to maintain and spread the customs she acquired from her grandma through her project.
“I have been waiting for this moment for many years after receiving the National Award for Weaving using Natural Colours in 2000,” Chakma said, beaming with happiness after being awarded the Padma Shri Award. My commitment today made me, my family, and the state’s citizens happy.”
Smriti Rekha Chakma has received sincere greetings from Chief Minister of Tripura, Manik Saha, in recognition of her exceptional accomplishments. He complimented her on Facebook for using vegetable-dyed cotton threads, traditional patterns, and her organization’s efforts to empower rural women to promote eco-friendly practices.
“I wish to impart my skills, expertise, and methods to the next generation. I’ll be working on this project till the day I die,” Chakma declared.