MYSURU: ‘Aadi Mahotsav’, the much-publicised exhibition-cum-sale of tribal products at Institution of Engineers in Mysuru on Sunday, turned out to be a damp squid with not even a single person from the community taking part in it.
While announcing the event in the city, V Ramanathan, regional manager of Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation (TRIFED) of India that comes under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, had said the exhibition was being organised in the city to facilitate direct sale of tribal products to the public.
According to him, TRIFED had decided to support tribals with free stalls and accommodation.
However, the exhibition in the city does not have a single stall run by a tribal. Instead of authentic tribal products, barring a few, most of the stalls are selling materials that are already available in shops like flower vases, plastic items, replica of Chinese foldable fans, dress material, paintings made of acrylic paints and homemade jewellery. “We have travelled to the remotest places in Sikkim, including tribal areas, but the products at display here are mostly replicas or mass produced versions. We even found a chinese made product here,” said Uma, a freelance artist. A majority of the shops were managed and run by private individuals who had little know-how about tribal products and their specialty.
Even though there were a few stalls where products made of banana fibre, jute and cane were being sold, the sellers themselves agreed that the products are not made by tribals completely but mass produced in industrial units with a few inputs from cottage industries run by individuals. When contacted, V Ramanathan said every stall is run by tribals and the products are of tribal origin.