The word ‘Mashru’ comes from the Arabic word ‘shari a’ that means “permitted by Islamic law.” Mashru was developed around the sixteenth century to allow Muslim men to exercise some agency within a rigid sartorial system that prohibited luxury in their lifestyles; in this system, silk was equated with leisure and decadence. Not quite silk, and not quite not, Mashru was a brilliant, highly skilled invention that presented a blurring of binaries in being both silk and cotton. The warp faced satin weave allowed silk to be visible on the surface, giving the fabric its desired shine. Mashru broke a rule within a system, and emerged as a legally ‘permitted’ fabric for men to wear. Mashru came to India through the silk route. It was originally woven in three parts of India: Gujarat, The Deccan and Uttar Pradesh. The colour palettes used to weave Mashru were mostly bright, often striped, and the textile was commonly dotted with motifs. One type of Mashru even used ikat. Despite its versatility, Mashru showed its deep Ottoman and Mughal influences.
Photographed by : Prarthna Singh