Enhancing Livelihoods of Tribal Artisans

As the nodal agency working towards tribal empowerment, the team of the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) is forging ahead in its endeavour to bring the tribal people towards mainstream development.

An ongoing initiative of TRIFED is the work being done in Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, where the local tribals are being trained in the Bagh, Maheshwari and Chanderi textile crafts to ensure continuous livelihoods. The first batch of the tribal beneficiaries are being trained by Padmashri Yusuf Khatri of the Bagh family, a pioneer in Bagh printing. The training started in February 2020 but had to be halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was resumed recently only. As a part of this training, these tribal artisans have learned to print bedsheets as of now. They are in the process of learning printing on sarees and suit pieces. A second batch of tribal artisans have also been identified to undertake the same training.

An area where the tribal population is predominant, Barwani has been listed as an aspirational district by the Government of India due its poor socio-economic development conditions. These aspirational districts have been identified in order to bring about a sustained development, which will be closely monitored by the senior officials of the Central government. In this regard, the Government also designated few senior officers to guide and mentor the district administration of these aspirational districts in implementing and monitoring of the various development plans. There are no traditional crafts in Barwani district; however in the surrounding districts of Khargone and Dhar, a substantial number of local tribal artisans are engaged in Bagh printing and traditional weaving of textiles in the Maheshwari style.

Upon detailed interactions with the district administration and other stakeholders to work out some livelihood project for the local tribals, it was proposed by Pravir Krishna, Managing Director TRIFED that imparting training to the local tribal artisans in Bagh, Maheshwari and Chanderi art styles would lead in contributing to their continuous livelihoods. Subsequently, TRIFED prepared a comprehensive proposal for training in these three craft traditions. The proposal was funded with Rs 4.52 crore by Bharat Petroleum under its CSR funds.

This project is being implemented through Barwani district administration for which 200 tribal beneficiaries were identified for this training. Further, in order to make this training programme more impactful, Yusuf Khatri from Bagh, the highly talented and experienced craftsperson in Bagh printing was urged to impart the training. The Khatri family are pioneers in this craft tradition and have been undertaking it for generations. His experience would definitely help the artisans.

The handicrafts and products made by these clusters of artisans who will hone their skills by learning from the master craftsmen will be purchased by TRIFED and showcased and marketed at all Tribes India outlets across the country. They will also be on sale on Tribes India’s e-market platform, where the artisans can themselves upload and sell their products.

The Changing Face of Rural India