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Web Exclusive | July 2017

Texathon, a unique run by textile community

As the yesteryear glory, Indu Mills in Dadar gets ready for the final demolition for the construction of a grand memorial to Babasaheb Ambedkar, Sunday, July 9 witnessed a nostalgic run by the textile fraternity. Some 2,000 odd runners from across the city, 50 cotton-growing farmers from Vidarbha and Maharashtra, alumni of the Sasmira Institute of Textiles, family members of forgotten textile workers, star runners and more came together for the heritage run hosted by Sasmira Alumni Foundation. The cause ‘No Naked Child’ was a unique initiative that aims to provide clothing to under privileged children across the country which was an effort to galvanise the alumni and others from the textile industry in a unique way to execute the world’s first textile community run – Texathon.

The event was graced by Kavita Gupta, Textile Commissioner of India who shared, “I am really very happy that SAF has put together this first-of-its-kind event in the world, which throws light on two key aspects, one is the cause of No Naked Child, which means clothing for the under-privileged through the run and other is the physical fitness, which takes a back seat in this otherwise glamorous world. Texathon has thus aimed to bring two energies together making it a memorable event for the textile fraternity.”

Texathon was run at distances of 10 km, 5 km, 3.5 km respectively. The run traversed through scenic parts of Mumbai covering the Indu Mills, Cadell Road, Kirti College and Catering College junctions, old bungalow of David Sassoon, Century Bazaar, Mayor’s Bungalow at Shivaji Park, etc. The run commenced and ended at one of the heritage mills of Mumbai, Indu Mills Compound. The 10-km run was won by Swapnil Sawant with a time of 35.20 mins, he was followed by Sachin Grote in second and Ashish Sapkal in third. In the women’s race, Varsha Bhawari came first, followed by Simta Sharma in second and Shweta Gawade in third. Aghorilal Chauhan (69) and Gurzarilal Chandra (62)—two farmers who came out to support the cause Gurzarilala Chandra—clocked the fourth fastest time of the race. Former National champion in 10,000 m, Leelamma Alphonso also participated in the veteran women’s section which she won.

“It’s a proud moment for us, since we, the textile fraternity could curate this beautiful thought of Texathon. The team over the last few months has been working religiously towards Garment Collection Drive and have managed to raise a sizeable amount of clothing and still counting, also the farmer community support has been a boon to us all and most importantly the heritage venue of Indu Mills by NTCC as been the icing on the cake. We look forward to many more seasons and years to come,” shared Sharad Tandon, President, SAF.

The event also saw participation of 50 cotton growing farmers from Marathwada and Vidarbha areas of Maharashtra. The whole idea was that the entire value chain right from producers (farmers) to manufacturers (textile industry) to end users (community) participated in the run. The event thereafter saw the farmers being exposed to latest trends in technology serving the growing textile industry. SAF facilitated the visit of this farmer community to the Government of India designated, Centre of Excellence for agro-textile at the Sasmira campus in Worli. Manish Daga of SAF and coveted as Cotton Guru shared, “First time in history of any race of any size, COTTONGURU is able to initiate and mobilize 50 genuine and progressive Cotton farmers to participate without any complaint and demand with the sole intention of getting them accepted as an integral part of the cotton textile supply chain.”

SAF has reached out to many helping hands to give their surplus clothing to the No Naked Child cause, the contributions of which will be given to Goonj, a national NGO founded by Anshu Gupta who states, “For us the issue was that clothing was never considered an issue, despite being in the list of 3 basic needs of human kind. Goonj, uses clothes as a resource for the have not. I wish Texathon all the best for the campaign and we are certainly happy to work together on this campaign.”
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