Ajrak is a shawl that is worn by Sindhi, Seraiki and Southern Punjabi people. It is a piece of cotton cloth shaped like a shawl has special designs and different patterns made using block printing by stamps. The colors that are used for making these designs or pattern are red, blue, black, yellow, green, etc. From many years ajrak is become a symbol of Sindhi traditions and culture. There is no doubt to say that Ajrak is considered a necessary part of Sindhi culture and clothing of Sindhi people. Sindhi men use it as a turban or “Pagri” or hang it around their shoulders or drop it over one shoulder. The Sindhi women use it as a dupatta or a shawl.
This symbol of Sindhi culture is usually long not more than three meters, designed with deep and strong colors mainly includes as a background colors are red or pink or some time navy blue with some white and black used carefully for giving a geometric touch in the design. Ajrak is made and available all over the Sindh, in Moro, Sukkar, Hyderabad, and Matiari and supplies to all over the Pakistan.
As we discussed earlier that ajrak is a compulsory part of Sindhi culture, but it also a symbol of Sindhi nationalism. The usage of Ajrak is must at all levels of the society and it’s a symbol of respect and dignity too. Traditionally Ajrak is often offered or presented as gifts to the guests. Ajrak is a tradition of Sindhi culture than how it is possible that it will not be worn in the other events like weddings and other cultural events.
The real ajrak is printed on both sides with using resist printing method. According to this method, the printing is done by hand with handy size wooden blocks. There are several different size blocks are used to making an Ajrak with a great effort and giving it an artistic touch. The Ajrak making process is considered very sensitive near the Ajrak makers and it is not just a job that they have to do, but a form of life.
Now come to the history of Ajrak that is very old and may be start from 2500 BC-1500 BC. At Moenjododaro a bust of King is excavated that shows a shawl adorn his shoulders and decorated with geometric symbols with red colors. That time only natural vegetable colors were used for ajrak making.