Thu, 02 Feb 2023

New Delhi [India], November 28 (ANI): Highlighting the rich heritage of Indian craftsmanship, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday said the country's craftspersons are India's ambassador of heritage to the world and beacon of Indian culture.

Addressing the Shilp Guru and National Awards organised by the Ministry of Textiles here, Vice President said, "India is on the rise as never before. We are the most favoured destination globally for investment and opportunity. And the craftspersons associated with handicrafts and handloom sector have played their role in this growth."Talking about the craftsmanship and skills of the artisans, he said that such refined skills make India proud.

"The craftspersons are the beacon of our culture. I am privileged to indicate you are the most forceful and impactful embers of our culture and creativity. You indicate to the world, the enormous skills that India possesses," Dhankhar said.

The Shilp Guru and National Awards to master craftspersons were distributed for the year 2017, 2018 and 2019. Due to the pandemic, the event could not be organised physically.

Dhankhar added that the presidency of G20 indicates that the world is listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his vision. He said that he is confident that by end of the decade India will become the third-largest world economy.

Union Minister of Textiles Piyush Goyal said while delivering the address said that handicraft handloom is a cornerstone for a self-reliant, confident India that is engaging with the rest of the world.

He said that India's craftsmen have, down the centuries, developed their own - often unique - methods and techniques to bring life into stone, metal, sandalwood and clay.

"They had, a very long time ago, perfected scientific and engineering processes far ahead of their times. Their creations revealed their sophisticated knowledge and highly developed aesthetic sense. Production of handicraft items provides livelihood opportunities to lakhs of people living in rural areas at low capital investment and has a good domestic and international market, which forms parts of the Indian heritage, culture and tradition," Goyal said.

He said that the production of handicraft items holds special significance in the economic empowerment of women living in rural areas, as production can be made within the house along with other household chores. Women are a large part of the workforce and constitute over 50 per cent of the artisans' sector.

Goyal said that the importance of crafts in the socio-economic livelihood of the vast segment of the rural population cannot be overemphasized. While the award is given in recognition of excellent craftsmanship and the major role played by them in the continuing craft as a vital part of traditional heritage, it is also necessary to recognize product excellence keeping in view the global market trends.

The Minister said that the promotion of handicrafts not only ensures a balance between the traditional values and contemporary outlook of a nation but also bestows shelter for skilful hands of the country. He said that India's export of handicraft/handloom is increasing. Also, Indian products are more sustainable than others.

Vice President Dhankhar along with Goyal released a catalogue of the awardees.

Thirty Shilp Guru Awards and 78 National Awards for the year 2017, 2018 and 2019 were presented to master craftspersons, 36 of whom are women. The main objective of the awards is to give recognition for their excellence in craftsmanship and valuable contribution to the Indian Handicrafts and textiles sector.

The Shilp Guru Awards are given to legendary master craftspersons in recognition of excellent craftsmanship, product excellence and the role played by them as gurus in the continuance of crafts to other trainee artisans as a vital part of traditional heritage.

The Awards were started in 2002, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the resurgence of Handicrafts in India. The Award consists of a gold coin, Rs 2 lakh prize money, a Tamrapatra, a shawl and a certificate. 30 Shilp Gurus have been selected for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 out of whom 24 are men and six are women.

The National Awards are being awarded since 1965 for outstanding craftsmanship in different craft categories. The main crafts for which the Awards have been given are Metal Engraving, Chikan Hand Embroidery, Khurja Blue Pottery, Kalamkari, Bandhani, Tie and Dye, Hand Block Bagh Print, Warli Art, Stone Dust Painting, Sozni Hand Embroidery, Terracotta, Tanjore Painting, Sholapith, Kantha Hand Embroidery, Palm leaf Engraving, Brass wire inlay on wood, Wood Tarkashi, Madhubani Painting, Gold Leaf Painting, straw craft etc.

The exquisite products of the Shilp Gurus and National Awardees will be on display at National Crafts Museum and Hastkala Academy, Pragati Maidan, Bhairon Marg, for the public from November 29 to December 5, 2022. (ANI)

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