The Bold Voice of J&K

Cultural Heritage: Reasi women reviving traditional handicrafts

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Dr. Banarsi Lal

Rural women from Reasi District of Jammu and Kashmir have added new life to the traditional local grass made handicrafts by indigenously innovating new items. Their unique creations in making the new items from local grass and wild palm have ignited widespread admiration and applause. Anita Devi, an innovative woman farmer has expressed her happiness at the transformation of new handicrafts. She remarked that “This innovative touch to our work has not only filled us with joy but has also given our crafts a refreshing and needful perspective”. She said that their endeavours have been noticed and appreciated by all. She narrated that these handicrafts were declining but we have strived to inject a new vitality by making new items from locally available grass and wild palm. She informed that initially women were making only the Chabadi and Binna and using at their homes. With the impressive creations rural women of the area made new items such as pen stand, dry fruit trays, jewelry box, hot cases, laundry bags, wall clocks, footwears and many other decorative and useful items by applying their innovative skills and knowledge. Their success story have also been published in the 75 inspirational success stories of Atamnirbhar women published by the Govt. of India. Anita Devi highlighted her commitment towards making the different designs of grass made handicrafts. She told that these items are time taking and require lot of patience and hardwork. She expressed that we have got outlets to sale our products. She thanked district administration, Jammu & Kashmir Rural Livelihood Mission (JKRLM), Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Reasi, Department of Rural Handicrafts, NABARD etc. for their support in revival of the faded handicrafts in the district. She shared her ambitious plans for making more innovative items of local grass. Dr.Banarsi Lal, Sr.Scientist & Head, KVK, Reasi said that the Babiyan grass and wild palm leaves are used to make the useful and beautiful handicrafts. He added that these products are eco-friendly and durable. He stressed on the variety of different innovative products for more returns. He expressed that some new income and employment avenues have been generated in the district through local grass and wild palm leaves processing. He remarked that the younger generation shy away from this art resulting in its gradual decline but now many rural youths are showing keen interest towards these handicrafts. Yougal Kishore Sharma, nodal officer, JKRLM, Reasi said that these traditional local grass made handicrafts are considered as the major avenue of culture heritage of rural areas of Reasi District. He added that many SHGs members are associated with these crafts and they manually make useful and decorative items. He emphasized on the entrepreneurial skills developed among the rural women and discussed on the branding, labeling, packaging and marketing of the products. He informed that rural women are selling grass made handicrafts within the UT and out of UT. He revealed the dedication to preserve and evolve this cherished tradition. The rural women of Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir are able to revitalizing the heritage and they are bridging past with the present through their endevours.
(The author is Sr. Scientist & Head KVK Reasi, SKUAST-J).

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