Sanganeri Hand Block Printed textile products will now be protected as a geographical indication under Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Almost 500 year old, Sanganeri hand block printed textiles, are characterized by delicate floral motifs in multiple colours.
The Geographical Indication (GI) certificate allows the producers of the Sanganer region to take legal action against the infringement of the name of their unique product. No other hand block and screen-printed textiles produced in other regions or countries can now be sold in India under the tag of Sanganeri print.
The application seeking GI registration of Sanganeri printed textiles was filed in December 2008. Subsequently the GI Registry undertook a rigorous process of scrutiny to ascertain the unique properties and reputation of Sanganeri hand block printed textiles and their link with the area of production in Rajasthan.
GI certificate for Sanganeri hand block printed textiles was granted on 19 March 2010. The GI certificate has not only recognised uniqueness and distinct identity of Sanganeri hand block prints in dress material, but also in related products such as home furnishing manufactured in the traditional manner by the community of Chhipas.
DFID-supported UNCTAD's India project through its partners – Indian Merchants' Chamber Mumbai, Rajasthan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (RCCI) and Rural Non-Farm Development Agency (RUDA) of Government of Rajasthan - worked closely with the artisan community in Sanganer for seeking the GI certificate.
Geographical Indication is an Intellectual Property Right (IPR), which identifies a good as originating in a certain region where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. GIs, unlike copyrights and trademarks, are publicly owned by the artisans/ producers of the concerned product.
Other products which have got GI certificates under DFID-supported UNCTAD's India project include Pipli Applique work of Orissa; Lucknow Chikan Craft; Uppada Jamdani Sarees of Andhra Pradesh; Cannanore Home furnishing; Banarasi Sarees and Brocades; and Balaramapuram Sarees and Fabrics.
With suitable marketing initiatives, the GI tag can commercially benefit thousands of artisans, traders and exporters of Sanganeri print textiles. It increases the visibility of the product, both domestic as well as international. Traditionally, the genius of the Sanganeri artisans and their print designs lay in their understanding of patterning fabric surfaces and the use of space.
The traditional Jaipur buti, usually a floral or animal motif, was carved on to a small square wooden block. The carved block was pressed on to a piece of padded fabric dipped into a vegetable dye and the motif was then printed on to the cloth at carefully measured intervals.
The same process was repeated with different blocks and colours, resulting in beautiful patterns of astonishing regularity. The traditional process of hand block printing has changed only marginally over the years. GI certificate combined with brand building and appropriate marketing initiatives can improve incomes of the producers.