Shillong, Aug 5: The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) can be the forerunners in the promotion of handloom and handicrafts in the country. This was stated by M Pariat, Director in-charge of Handloom and Handicrafts Development Co-operation Ltd, on Saturday while addressing a programme organised on the occasion of National Handloom Day that will celebrated across the country on Monday.
The Saturday’s programme was a pre-cursor to the mega event and meant to generate awareness on the importance of handloom. The programme was organised by the Directorate of Field Publicity, MMT, Region, Shillong.
The Director said that since the IIMs play an important role in strategising policies and programmes, the students should undertake research and case studies as this will enable them to understand more about the industry. He was referring to the huge potential of handloom in the Northeast and the prospect of research and case studies that can help in promoting the industry.
Pariat opined that handloom and handicrafts of Meghalaya have many unique features and these can be marketed for promotion of handloom industry. He stressed on the need to give identity to the products and people, adding that handloom and handicrafts can bring economic development if there is a proper strategy.
IIM Shillong Director Dr Amitabha De informed the gathering that the institute through its APJ Abdul Kalam Centre of Research has initiated research on various topics of which handloom is one. He said despite sweeping changes, the art and craft traditions have been kept alive due to the continuous efforts of artistes and craftsman who weave their dreams and visions into exquisite handloom products and transfer their skills to their progenies.
Handicrafts Promotion Officer R Sonar gave an extensive overview of the schemes being implemented by the Central Government for the promotion and welfare of artisans and craftsman and the significance of handicrafts industry in the Indian economy. She said that the second biggest source of employment in rural India, next to agriculture, the handloom sector provides 4.33 million from diverse communities engaged in 2.38 million looms across the country. She also dwelt upon the details of crafts, data available and practised in Meghalaya. She said that traditional pottery crafts and dyeing have been identified as endangered crafts of Meghalaya.
Director of DFP Shillong, Dr Engam Pame said that recognising the glorious history of the industry and its relevance to the present time, the government is committed to the resurgence of hand-woven textiles and also weavers. He said the National Handloom Day is celebrated across the country to mark the Swadeshi Movement and the day is dedicated to the weavers of the country.
He also said that the government is stressing on increasing weavers’ income that would in turn attract the younger generation into the profession.
A cultural troupe from the Song and Drama Division of the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting performed a play on the measures taken up by the government for promotion of handloom and handicrafts among the rural masses during the programme.
A quiz competition was also organised for better participation of audience on the occasion. The programme was attended by weavers, artisans and students from IIM Shillong.