While every Indian is proud of the nation’s rich cultural heritage, some are fortunate to be blessed by skills to continue the legacy with innovative and praiseworthy work. Every state in India has a story to tell and the tradition of creating each piece of craft that depicts a story is highly acclaimed around the world. Being famous for its heritage, India offers various traditional handicrafts and ancient art forms in various parts. Over the years, the crafts and artwork have evolved and the handicraft industry has not only provided employment opportunities to many artisans across the country but has also created a niche for itself around the world.
Madhya Pradesh Handloom And Handicraft Corporation aims to uniquely blend artisans, crafts, and heritage and to conserve and develop the traditional, non-traditional and heritage art and crafts of the State providing sustainable employment opportunities to rural communities, especially the disadvantaged sections comprising scheduled castes & tribes, backward & minority sections and women. The Directorate of Handlooms & Handicrafts focuses on the weavers and craftsmen who keep alive their traditional livelihoods (the weaving traditions of Chanderi and Maheshwar go back several centuries, providing case studies in sustainability). So, we have for you, our guest speaker, Shri. Rajeev Sharma (IAS, Commissioner) Directorate of Handloom & Handicraft and he will take us on his mission and passion for art and culture.
Describing the primary focus of their work, Shri. Rajeev Sharma said:
“The primary focus of our department is to promote the craftsmen and crafts of MP. I am personally a fan of art and culture. So being an IAS officer, it is a great opportunity to work for craft in a position.”
How has ‘Make In India’ movement by the Government of India in 2014 helped you?
“When PM fixes an agenda, it affects the entire society. As far as the art and culture is concerned, it’s already local, it was indigenous.”
“My agenda for 2020-21 is to reach the global markets with the craftsmen, with the art and with the artefacts of amazing Madhya Pradesh. My team is very innovative that we try to launch new projects in every 15 days. Not during the lockdown, but just like every Friday a new film used to release, Madhya Pradesh Handloom And Handicraft Corporation used to launch at least one new product in every fortnight.”
Exclusive Product Line From Madhya Pradesh Handloom & Handicraft Corporation
“We are market-oriented so of lately, we have been producing user-friendly and cost-effective cotton masks, made of our own fabric and designed beautifully. We have been producing hygienic masks of different kinds and with the positive support of the market, we had to enhance the production capacity. Apart from the masks, since it is the month of saawan, the month of Lord Shiva, we are selling idols of Shiva i.e. Shiva linga. We are also selling the world-famous Pashupatinath idol that are craftsmen had made in silver. We are also shifting our focus on a new product, the Herbal Collection by Mrignayanee that we had launched on July 13, 2020. We have curated Mrignayanee, the collection of sarees, with the idea of immunity enhancement. The collection is made with 50% cotton and 50% of resham. So, when we dye them, instead of using the artificial or chemical colours, we took the help of Ayurveda which suggests if we can colour them with cinnamon, cloves, or different Indian herbs, then it enhances the immunity of the cloth.”
Make In India Campaign – Transforming Hurdles into Opportunities
“There’s no hurdle as such in our path and even if there is, we see it as a chance. Due to the pandemic, our showroom was closed but we took this lockdown as a chance to create masks instead of only sarees and suits. We are selling it through social media and website.”
“We support our craftsmen by giving them a platform to showcase their work like the showrooms and their works are also promoted online on our website, online shopping portals, and social media handles. We also organize special craft fairs where we invite our artisans, exhibit their products, and help in selling them.”
“Since centuries, MP has a wonderful heritage that globetrotters visit. So the families of the craftsmen involved in the making of those heritage sites, are still living in that area. So they make these beautiful crafts throughout the year. We get a wonderful response from the art lovers. Most of our products are by women, as I told earlier, women are weavers and whatever masks we are selling are made by them.”
Plan for the Future – Helping & Encouraging Craftsmen with the Help of Make In India Campaign
“We aiming to open our stores in major airports, a store in London and in fact, the entire Europe. We are also in conversation with some agencies in USA, Africa and Gulf countries. We want to expand. We are also planning to produce furniture, which we call the Tribal Furniture that’s different from what’s available in the market. The carving and picturesque engraving of tribal life is what will make our furniture different. My message for everyone out there is please come back to nature. We make natural products with no side effects. It is good for your health and by purchasing our products, you’ll be helping and encouraging the craftsmen.”
Are you too, proud of the heritage of India just as much as we are? Show the artisans some love and support by visiting the showroom, if you travel to MP anytime in future. If you are or you know someone, who is talented and skilled with a unique talent, then don’t forget to be Vocal For Local. Write to us on email@example.com or join #MyBlogUs community and share their work with us. We will give you a platform to showcase your talent to the world.