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Support projects to provide jobs, money to artisans soon 

The Tribune , Sep 11, 2019

Ever since the Thateras of Jandiala Guru found a place in the Intangible Heritage item list of UNESCO, the state government and non-profit organisations have launched several revival and support projects, which are aimed at providing employment to the artisans, ensuring economic empowerment of the artisans. Apart from the thateras, several other handlooms and handicrafts are also looking ways of revival.

FICCI FLO recently announced the launch of the Revival For Survival project. Supporting the revival of weavers of punja durries (rugs), a specific handloom industry of Punjab, which once was a staple in every household, the project aims at providing not just economical support to the community of weavers but also take the punja durri art to a global platform through extensive collaborations. “This is our first-of-its-kind project for revival where the rehabilitation of the weavers and the handloom will be all round. The craft is especially important to women in rural areas as they are the ones contributing immensely by weaving the traditional punja durries,” said Aarushi Verma, chairperson, FICCI FLO, Amritsar. The punja durries were essentially bridal durries as they were made by a community of village women as a dowry for the daughter’s wedding. With bold patterns and colourful weaves, they have found a niche market as a collector’s item.

The organisation will work to design and launch a dramatic range of fashion jewellery in collaboration with Thatera metal artisans and weavers. It will use thatera metal comprising brass and bronze along with traditional thread-weavers from the region.

Apart from handicrafts, the revival of folk art forms has already been undertaken by the Punjab Sangeet Natak Academy. With folk art forms like nakkals, baazigars and folk balladeers, the academy has begun revival and rehabilitation of folk artistes through organising folk performances and festival. FICCI FLO too plans to push for the revival of folk artistes by supporting them through collaborations.