Saving art, helping tribals

Bineydeep Singh knew that when it comes to India, the market of rural products in urban sectors is where the maximum scope lies. For his batchmate Abhi­shek Jha, it was the interest to work and gain experience with the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) division of a company. While Gitanshu Arora thought there is no better deal than to help the poor through his acquired marketing skills.

These three students pursuing Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management therefore headed for Jharkhand along with their classmates Neha Bhardwaj and Mayukh Sarkar. The young guns took over the project of creating a market for the paintings by tribals; from their predecessors.

“The project is being managed by the CSR division of TATA Steel and our seniors joined in to help in the marke­ting of folk art from this part of our country,” says Arora.

Singh informs about the four types of artwork that are created in the region. He says, “Along with the popular Dokra, Saura, Sohrai and Gond paintings are made by womenfolk from tribes. They used to make these to decorate the walls of their homes and were later asked to replicate the same on paper, to be used as a means of livelihood.”

It wasn’t easy for their seniors to convince the tribal women to produce these arts on paper. “Even after they agreed, in order to make it a value-addition model, the artists had to be given proper training to create artwork that could be sold in markets of metropolitans such as Delhi,” adds Jha. Involved in the development of the product and ways to increase its sale, these students of Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad, realised the potential of products made out of Kansai grass. Jha says, “Thou­gh most of the business comes from paintings, the demand for the Kansai products cannot be overlooked.”

“Even if there was not a steady demand for any of these artwork in the market, we asked the artisans for a fixed monthly order, lest they stop making anything thinking that there is no demand,” Jha adds.
The primary focus of these student marketers is Delhi/NCR, where they have even put up a selling unit. “At the Indian Oil Apartments in Noida,” says Singh adding, “Our Facebook page ‘Tribal Pictures of India’ started to create awareness about tribal arts and was a big hit too.”
The students even sold the paintings online for a short period and have developed means to push them further.
Having passed out from the institute in March, these students are looking forward for their initiative to become an independent model. Singh says, “We want to appoint someone, from the tribal belt, who can be trained and taught to manage things by themselves as we diversify into various professions.”        

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