Shillong (Meghalaya): Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) can be the forerunners in the promotion of handlooms and handicrafts in the country. This was stated by M. Pariat, Director in-charge of Handloom and Handicrafts Development Co-operation Limited Shillong while he was addressing a programme organised on the occasion of National Handloom Day which is going to be celebrated across the country on August 7, 2017. Today’s programme was the pre-cursor to the mega event and to generate awareness on the importance of handloom. The programme was organised by the Directorate of Field Publicity, MMT, Region, Shillong.
The Director said that since the IIMs play an important role in strategising policies and programmes, the students should undertake research and case studies as this will enable them to understand more about the industry. He was referring to the huge potential of handlooms in the North East and the prospect of research and case studies which can help in promoting the industry. The director opined that Meghalaya handloom and handicrafts have many unique features and this can be marketed for promotion of handloom industry. He said, “We need to give identity to the products and the people.” Handloom and handicrafts can bring economic development if there is proper strategy, he added.
While Director of IIM Shillong, Dr Amitabha De informed the gathering that IIM Shillong under APJ Abdul Kalam Centre of Research have initiated research on various topics of which handloom is one. He said despite sweeping changes, the art and craft traditions have been kept alive due to the continuous efforts of artists and craftsman who weave their dreams and visions into exquisite handloom products and transfer their skills to their progenies.
“Furthermore the skill involved in special handloom products such as Kanchipuram and Banaras Silk, Kosa and Muga Silk from Chattisgarh and Assam respectively, Jamdhani from Bengal, the Bhagalpur Silk, the Chanderi from Madhya Pradesh and Tusar and Ikat of Odisha is a part of special cultural capital. Every product speaks of a unique region and culture”, he added.
Handicraft Promotion Officer, Ministry of Textiles, Shillong R Sonar gave an extensive overview of the schemes being implemented by the Government for the promotion and welfare of artisans and craftsman and the significance of handicrafts industry in the Indian economy. She said that the second biggest source of employment in rural India, next to agriculture, the handloom sector provides 4.33 million from diverse communities engaged in 2.38 million looms across the country. She also dwelt upon the details of crafts, data available and practised in Meghalaya. She said that traditional pottery crafts and dyeing have been identified as endangered crafts of Meghalaya.
Director of DFP Shillong, Dr Engam Pame said that recognising the glorious history of the industry and its relevance to the present time, the Government is committed to the resurgence of hand-woven textiles and also weavers. National Handloom Day is celebrated across the country to mark the ‘Swadeshi Movement’ and the day is dedicated to the weavers of the country. He also said that the Government is stressing on increasing weavers earnings which would in turn attract the younger generation to this profession. This programme has been organised to create awareness on the day and also to promote the handloom industry, headed.
A cultural troupe from the Song and Drama Division, Ministry of I& B, Government of India performed a play on the measures taken up by the Government for promotion of handloom and handicrafts among the rural masses, during the programme. A quiz competition was also organised for better participation of audience on the occasion. The programme was attended by weavers, artisans and students from IIM Shillong.