The lockdown and pandemic has uprooted several livelihoods in the past year and small-time artisans have suffered the most. Here’s how you can brighten their Diwali.
Exchanging gifts and spreading joy perfectly sums up the essence of Diwali, which is just around the corner. Hundreds have already flocked to the ‘Dhamaka Sales’ to purchase handicrafts, home decor, home appliances and furniture.
But we can continue doing so while making a difference and supporting small artisans to overcome the pandemic-led financial crisis.
Given that India has so many diverse and indeginous crafts, there are a plethora of options to choose from.
We, at The Better India, have made a list of eight such artisans and organisations, from Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Kota, Palghar to Jaipur and more, to help you on your quest to have a happy and meaningful Diwali.
Chikankari, Banarasi Silk, Pashmina & More: All a Call Away
Majid Ahmad Mir is a master weaver who works with 30 families to make Kani shawl, which have aesthetic recreations of designs inspired by nature using a very fine twill tapestry technique. He also weaves Sozni embroidery shawls, plain pashmina shawl and the reversible pashmina shawl. He comes from a lineage of master pashmina weavers dating back almost 600 years.
You can place your order at: 99066 44999
Haji Mushtakim specialises in Kota pure cotton and silk-based saris and dupattas. Placing an order with him will benefit close to 50 families.
Reach him at: 92522 40758
Gopal Chippa, a master weaver in Bagru village is engaged in Bagru printing (a traditional printing technique done using natural colours by members of the Chippa community in Rajasthan). He makes Bagru printing on cotton, silk, silk-cotton, khadi and other fabrics, making saris, shirts, T-shirts, etc.
Call him at: 93141 93022
Wasim Aktar specialises in Benaras silk and mixed cotton suits sarees and unstitched lehenga.
He can be reached at: 86041 58244
Meanwhile, Ajay Jaiswal sells fine chikankari suits, saris, lehengas, etc.
Call him at: 81819 68883
All these master weavers are associated with The Weaver Resource Bridge, a volunteer group of six women from different parts of the world helping master weavers across India find buyers for their products.
Please note: You can message the artisans on the given numbers to source images of the products.
Guddee: One-Stop Shop for 7 Artforms
Guddee is a for-profit organisation started by Mumbai-based Haritha Singh in June this year with an aim to empower 71 artisans across India who faced a huge blow during the lockdown. The artisans are based in different parts of the county like Sahranpur, Kutch, Channapatna, Jaipur, etc.
Their Diwali campaign started on 18 October and will go on till 3 November. The products include handcrafted Aggarbati holders, lamps, garden essentials, dolls, diyas, etc.
You can reach them here.
Gulmeher Green: Where Former Waste Pickers Create Art
Started by Anurag in 2013, Gulmeher aims to financially empower waste pickers into skilled artisans. They upcycle waste to make products like natural holi colours, calendars, gift boxes, diaries, file covers, rakhis, posters, etc.
Their Diwali special products consist of different types of diyas such as hanging diyas, chakra diyas, kulhad diyas, phool diyas, torans and more.
Close to a 100 women, who were once collecting waste from Ghazipur landfill, are now earning a decent revenue through this venture.
Head here to check out their beautiful collection.
Bamboo Products From Palghar
Keshav Kutir, an organisation based in Palghar, Maharashtra, is not just supporting the tribal artisans but also the farmers by purchasing bamboo from them. The organisation roped in over 300 tribal artists across 10 villages and trained them to make bamboo products.
Ahead of Diwali, bamboo lanterns are their best selling item as they have already sold 3,000 of them with only a few left in the stock. However, you can contact them for other bamboo-based items such as miniatures, trays, bowls, plates, table lamps, fruit baskets, etc.
You can reach them here.
Of Organic Cotton & Natural Dyes
The MG Gramodyog Sewa Sansthan based in West Bengal’s Bardhaman district is working with 62 weavers and 132 khadi spinners to keep alive the hand spun Muslin (or Mul Mul) cloth. They source cotton grown organically from Maharashtra farmers and use natural dyes to make saris and stoles.
The organisation founded by Arup Rakshit also sells fabrics to customers and wholesalers under their brand name, ‘Label Prerona’
Contact them here.
Banana Residue Products from Uttar Pradesh
Ravi Prasad from Hariharpur in Uttar Pradesh, started Malawa Kela Resa Utpadan Laghu Udyog Kendra that sells footwear, hats, carpets and other items made from banana waste. The cheapest product, which is a yoga mat, costs Rs 600 while the most expensive items like a carpet is around Rs 6,000.
Close to 450 women from Hariharpur are benefiting through this initiative.
Read more here.
To order handcrafts from Ravi, contact him on 6306353170.
Handmade Diyas made by the Disabled
The Differently Abled Members of the National Association of Disabled’s Enterprises (NADE) hopes to sell 10,000 handmade diyas this Diwali. Close to 150 disabled people are associated with the process. The charitable trust was founded in 1987 by K N Radhakrishnan Iyer to establish Disabled’s Co-operatives and generate employment. As a part of its endeavour, NADE has two training centres-cum-workshops in Maharashtra that benefit of visually impaired, hearing impaired and orthopedically challenged.
For orders, call (022) 25779600/71 or Whatsapp on +91 9137239065. Or click here.
Featured image source: Wikipedia
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)