The late Gulbag Mian Hussain Mutwa's Home in Dhorda village
of Banni in Kutch is a masterpiece of artistic interior décor
typical of his community. He was a legend who is still affectionately
referred as Dada. As the founding father of the Mutwa, he was their their
leader and Honorary Magistrate during the time of the Kutch state. He
started the movement to sell embroidered items in Banni decades ago.
Dhorda was the first settlement to focus on embroidery and handicrafts. To Gulbag Mian's credit, the movement caught on in the entire Kutch region with each community specializing in their distinctive embroidery styles that attract buyers around the world. Today, Gulbeg Mian's family members carry on with the tradition of Mutwa embroidery.
It is believed that about 500 years ago, a Hijra (Eunuch)
led Mutwa ancestors from Arabia to Sindh and then to Kutch where the king
gave them the shelter. They still follow the Bedouin faith that they left
behind in their country of origin. Apparently they settled in the Banni
area about 250 years ago.
Muslim herders inhabit 11 villages in western Banni. There are now 40 families in Dhordo. They claim their origin is in 'Arbistan' and are recognised as culturally distinct from the neighbouring Muslim Maldharis of Banni. Their groups mainly dwell in the parts of Dhordo, Patgar, Udho, Sinodho, Mithdi, Pannawari, Ghorewari, Adian, and Fulai.
Sensitivity to beauty and creative flow enriching a stark environment is the artistic legacy handed down from generation to generation among the Mutwas. They sell embroidered textiles and ornaments. Their embroidery is considered the best in the Banni area and their patchwork and 'Taka' work is highly appreciated by the discerning buyers. Their backless Kanjeri blouses and long flowing silk have the finest embroidery one can ever come across.
The wedding trousseau consists of about 21 to 30 Godris
Called "Dhanki, jewellery, embroidered items and utensils. No food
items are carried with these things. Children start making their trousseau
item by the time they are eight years old.
For marriages a 'Sero Mod' with beads is with beads is worn on the head. Jewellery items are Jherna gold and pearl necklace, Popat hanging earrings, Alutak hanging earrings, and Bhuli, Dani Silver or gold chain worn from parting to the side of the ears.
Mutwa's belive that Namaaz is an 'Ikhrar' or an understanding with God. They also observe Ramzan and Bakri Id or Id-al-uzha. Roza or daily fasting is done during Ramzan. They go on Haj pilgrimages, pray five times a day, pay tax dues from their community, and believe in Paigamber Mohammed.