Skip to main content

Village Festivals: Celebrating Traditions

Village Melas are the annual festivals of artist villages that work with indigenous art and craft forms. In interest of the artist communities, the melas have been significant in strengthening identity of the traditional artist communities and alongside have been operative in creating market linkages for the art.


These melas were initiated as resourceful interacting platforms for artists, visitors and the market. Apart from that the melas also staged for the implementation of social changes within the communities of the artists. Initially these festivals were started to familiarize outsiders with the artist identity and legitimize artists pride conforming the knowledge of the art and craft forms. Eventually the melas became grounds for community development as not only outsiders, but also nearby villages started to acknowledge the abilities of the artists and appreciating the art forms. 



This year the Melas were quite successful, some of them like the Madur Mela was a first time. Between September to December 2016 10 village festivals took place. I was the 7th edition for the POT Maya, Patachitra festival at Pingla and Baul Fakir Utsav, music festival at Gorbhang; whereas Mukha Mela at Kushmandi saw its 3rd edition. The 2nd edition of Dokra festivals at Bikna and Dariyapur, have been successful to propagate linkages and promote the craft. Many visitors from urban areas attended the melas and claimed to have learnt about the festivals from blogs, articles etc.





The Madur Utsav happened for the first time this year from 9th to 11th December. The weavers were quite excited to meet and interact with representatives from established organizations, as focus of the festival was FAM tour. Pertinent houses like Biswa Bangla, Fab India, Made in Bengal, Kadam, Halo Heritage and Neerosha. Apart from them, individual craft sellers, consultants and university students also explored the festival. Interactive sessions between the guests and the weavers provided a platform for discussion and feedback on the different products in terms of quality, texture, colour, designs, packing, delivery etc. Such interactions helped the traditional artists to understand modern audience, leading to the development of a new market. The festival acted as a perfect platform for opening up new avenues, partnerships and also gave the artists new ideas to work on as well as connected people on a larger scale.





The next Madur Mela is scheduled between Jan 12-13, 2017 and will take place at Digha, Purba Medinipur.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Entrepreneurship as a Social Movement: Real Life Success Stories

In January 2018, we launched a long-term initiative to give a concerted push to entrepreneurship, including innovative ones, by sharing our knowledge and experience acquired over 17 years as a social enterprise. To begin with, we invited eminent thought leaders and industry experts who shared their experiences with our home-grown young, aspiring entrepreneurs. This ‘International Seminar on Entrepreneurship as a Social Movement: Creating Cultural, Social and Economic Value’ was organized on 5 and 6 January in Kolkata, in partnership with the British Council and the Essex Business School, University of Essex, U.K.The narratives at the conclave veered from personal journeys of Indian entrepreneurs to stories from countries as far as Argentina. The deliberations focused on how skills and innovation, supported by a pragmatic and sensitive socio-economic eco-system, can usher in holistic changes in the development paradigm.At the seminar, we also showcased real life success stories of creat…

Swayangsiddha: Rallying youths to stop human trafficking & child marriage

In an era of fast forgotten news, the headline flew past in a flicker indeed, but it did leave behind a rare trail of courage and inspiration for thousands of girls, if not more, in West Bengal! Meena, a teenager from a non-descript village in the district of South 24 Parganas, was tricked and abducted by a woman she knew through one of her classmates and neighbour. Only days before, Meena, a Class 10 student, was lucky to have attended a session of Swayangsiddha – the awareness drive underway against human trafficking organized by the district police chief at her school. Memories came rushing back and she understood that she would be sold to ‘customers’ waiting in cities like New Delhi or Mumbai, if not any other faraway land. But Meena decided not to give in and realized that keeping her cool was the topmost priority at the moment. As her abductor and her associates tried to figure out her reaction and response at the shelter where she was kept at in Baruipur, a bustling town in he…

West Bengal to Washington: Connecting Young Hearts & Minds

Understanding and sharing are the fundamentals for any stable, caring relationship. It holds true even for communities having different mindsets, cultural moorings and socio-economic profiles. An interesting experiment in this context came to an end recently. It involved youths from the United States and the state of West Bengal in India. The participants had diverse backgrounds, varied interests and different aspirations. While some came from marginalized rural families, some had modest to well-to-do backgrounds, often with an upbringing in urban milieus. But, in spite of all their differences, they came together to share stories about their likes, dislikes, passion, profession, roots, aspirations and perceptions, and ended up as more humane and sensitive souls, if not friends!
The aim of the Communities Connecting Heritage (CCH) program was to promote cultural diversity and boost cultural sustainability through cultural exchange. It was supported by the U.S. Department of State and a…