PATNA: PM Modi's words of appreciation for the artisans of Madhubani and Darbhanga making masks with Madhubani paintings on Sunday in his 'Mann Ki Baat’ speech has done wonders for their business.
“Demand for masks being made with Madhubani painting has doubled in just 72 hours after PM’s praise. We are overwhelmed over the demands pouring in from across the country over the phone”, Rajesh Kumar Jha, one of the artisans of Madhubani paintings said.
Around 2500 artisans are working hard to make masks with Madhubani paintings both in Darbhanga and Madhubani districts of Bihar and expecting demand to grow moving ahead.
Anju Devi Mishra of Darbhanga, who has carved a niche in the field of Madhubani paintings and won many awards and accolades including ‘Neelkanth Saman' in 2018 and others said that masks adorned with Madhubani paintings have become a craze among the younger generation in particular after PM praised it. "In the last couple of days, we have got orders from Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Bangalore and other metro cities over tje phone and have sent masks through post," she said.
Mishra’s daughter Nishi, who is back at her home after her college was closed due to lockdown, said: “I have also started helping my mom and others in making masks with Madhubani."
Similarly, Nutan Jha, another acclaimed artisan of Madhubani painting, said that many college going girls and youths have also joined her in producing masks with Madhubani paintings after the PM’s words of appreciation.
"Everyday we are working hard to meet demand that has doubled than earlier in the last 72 hours. Many calls asking for supply of masks with Madhubani paintings have been received from metro cities like form Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai," Nutan Jha said.
Ruchi Kumari, who is studying in Maharaja Laksmishwar Singh College in Darbhanga, said that a group of 10 women and girls have doubled the mask production from 50 earlier to 100 to meet the increased demand. She said that masks made by the artisans are sold from Rs 25 to Rs 50 depending upon the quality. According to a rough estimate, more than 1.5 lakhs masks with Madhubani paintings have been made since the first round of lockdown till now and supplied across the country.
Madhubani DM Dr Nilesh Deore has also contacted e-commerce company Amazon and assured to arrange meeting with all artisans of Madhubani via video conferencing. He said that his wife and daughter too have started using masks with Madhubani paintings in a bid to popularise it among others.
Darbhanga DM Dr Thiyagrajan SM, who was the first to share the masks with Madhubani paintings on his Twitter page and got in touch with the Amazon for its online sale, said that the craze for Mithila masks has increased not only within the country but also in foreign countries. On the online sites, its sale has increasing day by day and many celebrities like film actress Raveena Tandon and others have also praised this mask on Twitter.
Padma Shri recipient Baua Devi of Madhubani paintings also hopes the PM's praise will boost the mask sales and give it an international brand value.