HYDERABAD: The Northeastern states have always been a mystery to the rest of India. Though there are a big number of people from that region in the city, there is very little familiarity. However, one visit to Crafts Bazar 2015 being organised in the city will give you a glimpse of their tradition through the crafts on display. Organised by North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Corporation in association with Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, the exhibition will be on till February 18.
These craftsmen bring to the people, a variety of handmade products all the way from their home towns. National Small Industries Corporation has played a major role in helping these craftsmen go to various places, sell the products and earn a decent living. Started in 1978 with Shillong as its headquarters, the organisation is benefiting around 25,000 craftsmen in the Northeast.
BC Upreti, manager at the National Small Industries Corporation says, “We conduct these exhibitions every year in cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Guwahati and Shillong. It is conducted in two parts – Crafts Bazar with about 100 stalls and exhibition with 50 stalls. We provide the stalls free of cost. Apart from that, the products are also sold at their store Purbashree Emporium in various cities.”
Training sessions are held frequently for craftsmen where they are taken to places like to Delhi or Bombay. “People from IIM and from various designing institutes in the country train them. They teach them how to come up with new designs and sometimes also teach them business strategies,” informs Upreti. The organisation also has cane bank for the craftsmen for their products. “We provide them with products and sometimes also get orders for them. They make the end products and get paid for it,” he adds.
Response from the city
In just two days, they have already sold products worth `30,000. Majority of the buyers came in during the weekends. “As our products are still on the way, the profit is not as expected,” Upreti explains.
Unique Products On Display Shital Pati Mats
Mats made up of shital pati can be found in the expo. “It is a kind of grass that attracts moisture, thereby making the bed cooler. It can be used as a bed spread. It also eliminates body pains,” informs Rahul Bhowmick, an artisan who makes bags, wallets, chappals and many other innovative products with the grass.
Adorable sarees made with some unique patterns like dholak are on display. Gadhuli Sharma from Assam who has been designing on silk fabrics for 20 years says that the Mekhla Chaddar (lehenga choli) is one thing most women in her home town like wearing. Along with that, she also sells sarees that costs between `1,800 to `2,500 and kurta material which costs `350 and above.
Kauna Grass products
It is not only shital pati but kauna grass tree planters, fruit basket, trays, boxes, semi-circle wallets can also be seen.
Dry wood flowers
Solar wood that grows in water is used to make these flowers. Ele from Nagaland who brought these flowers to the exhibition says that she goes to the forest everyday to collect the wood. They are made in various shapes and decorated with different colours. Ele uses various other elements and makes them suitable to be put in a vase and used as a decorative item at homes.
Bamboo jewellery and sculptures
Baby Sarkar displays delicately made bamboo and cane jewellery. It is a perfectly crafted piece in white and cream colour and sometimes golden colour added to it. She also has mats, wall papers, big and small baskets, fans and so on. Devotional decorative pieces made out of bamboo roots are also impressive. Her crafts are also exported to South Africa and Japan.