It’s the season of rain and rainbows. Purple skies and sparkling blue lakes beckon us to step outside and soak in some of the magic pouring from the heavens above. If you are planning to match their colour palette, you might just want to consider stepping out in indigo – that gorgeous cousin of blue. An intense, solid shade, it boasts of an equally deep history.
One of the earliest dyes known to the civilized world, indigo production was once indigenous to India and its export to Greek and Roman civilizations saw the Greek calling it indikon, which can be loosely translated as the dye for India before the word indigo made it to the English dictionary.
Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel on Unsplash
Considered a luxury product during the ancient and medieval ages, the dye even went on into inspire both, poets and revolutionaries alike in the modern ages. Here in India, it was the British Raj’s forced farming of indigo that sparked off a revolt by the peasants in 1859.
Back in England, it was again the plight of workers on farms in the town of Cockermouth that had none other than Wordsworth dedicating lines to them in the autobiographical, The Prelude.
It was only towards the end of 19th century when BASF, the German chemical company, finally chanced upon the formula to make cheaper indigo that the British empire’s monopoly in natural indigo ended and along with it, indigo’s reign as blue gold.
And yet, our love affair with indigo continues. From neela aasmaan to neele neele ambar pe, we in India continue to weave the happiest shade of blue into our idea of romance.
Here’s wishing you lots of romance in this season of rain!