New Delhi: In a bid to provide economic empowerment to thousands of poor artisans and showcase some of the most unique and dying indigenous arts and crafts from across the country, the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs is organising the 33rd version of the 13-day skills festival called the “Hunar Haat” in the national capital from 14 to 27 November.
Over 550 artisans and craftsmen from more than 30 states and Union Territories are participating in this version of the “Hunar Haat” and displaying their creative and indigenous crafts spread across 300 stalls in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan.
Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that India’s traditional and ancestral legacy of handloom-handicraft has been promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “mantra” of “Vocal for Local” and “Swadeshi”. The “Hunar Haat” has not only made the artisans and craftsmen self-reliant, it has also strengthened the commitment to “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.
One of the unique art and creativity that is up for display and sale at the Hunar Haat this time includes that of a young girl from Delhi showcasing her talent of painting anything and everything on a single strand of a bird feather.
This correspondent has seen her display of art where she has painted some 28 freedom fighters on a single strand of peacock feather. Apart from this, she has also painted a small portrait of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a small pigeon feather. Muskan, who is just 21 years old and is a student of Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia University, said that she developed this form of art as she wanted to try something different.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Muskan said that feather painting is not something that she did when she began painting at a very young age. She said she first tried on walnuts and peanuts, but since those are perishable items, she moved to stone and feather painting. “I was always interested in painting and when I was very young, I tried some painting of small caricatures on a walnut, but it got spoiled since walnuts are a perishable good. Then I tried peanuts, it met the same fate. Then some told me to try painting on pebbles, I did that and it came out to be a fantastic piece of art and received a lot of appreciation from my family and peers. Slowly, I moved on to feathers. The first feather painting I did was about three years back of Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan. Then slowly I moved on to paint other individuals. This art form is very rare and has brought me a lot of accolades in recent times,” Muskan told this newspaper.
Not only Muskan, there are hundreds of other artisans who have come to this Hunar Haat to display their different and unique talent. Suresh Pant, who hails from Uttarakhand, has developed a niche art form of developing small and unique sculptures from wooden barks that are often found lying across the streets or floating in the river around his house. Some of his sculptures include very intricately carved wooden tables made from a small branch of trees, abstract art forms, amongst others. Pant says that he learnt this art form from his father who was also engaged in the same business. “These sculptures that you see are all made from small wooden logs that come floating in the river or found lying beneath a tree. The intricate detailing on these logs of wood is something I learnt over time and it takes a lot of attention, time and energy to sit through hours and design and make them. Earlier, I used to take hours to finish one product, but now I can make a couple of them in like two hours,” Pant told this correspondent. Like Pant, Hema Ben has also come to the Hunar Haat for the second time to display a unique art form from Gujarat’s Kutch. Hema Ben’s specialty is that she makes both small and big abstract art forms using mud, paint and mirror work.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Hema Ben said, “This art form was earlier used in the houses in the Kutch region of Gujarat when the houses were made of mud. But since people have moved to concrete houses such art was dying and I thought of keeping this alive and started to work on it. Now, instead of the art being made on mud walls, it is made on a bud base and then framed to be hung on concrete walls.” The unique initiative of Hunar Haat by the Minority Ministry has opened a plethora of opportunities for these small and marginalised craftsmen from across the country.
More than 6 lakh 75 thousand artisans, craftsmen and people associated with them have been provided employment and employment opportunities through “Hunar Haat” in the last about six years. Not only this, the Minority affairs ministry have also ensured that credit facilities are provided to these small-time craftsmen so that they can grow their businesses and for this the Ministry has tied up with Canara Bank to provide easy loans to these artisans for better employment and self-empowerment. Various cultural and musical programmes of renowned artists are also being organised by “Hunar Haat” in an open auditorium at Pragati Maidan every day. The visitors thronging to the Hunar Haat will also be able to enjoy “Circus” where Indian circus artists will perform spectacular diverse traditional entertainment shows.