Madhur Tankha

Vice-President Hamid Ansari inaugurates fortnight-long Surajkund Crafts Mela in Faridabad amid much fanfare

NEW DELHI/SURAJKUND: The fortnight-long Surajkund Crafts Mela that offers a glimpse of rural Indian handicrafts as well as traditional items from South Asian countries was inaugurated by Vice-President Hamid Ansari at Surajkund in Faridabad district of Haryana on Monday.

Mr. Ansari was given a traditional Rajasthani welcome at the Shekhawati Gate that has been renovated and given a white marble look. Rajasthan is the theme State this year and 417 craftspersons from 23 States and 31 artisans from Tajikistan, Egypt, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Bangladesh are participating in the fair this year.

The Vice-President first visited the section displaying crafts from SAARC countries and interacted with Tajikistan Deputy Minister of Culture Azizi Faogat Abdukahhorazoda.

Applauding the efforts made by the Surakjund Mela authorities in showcasing arts from various countries on a common platform, Mr. Ansari pointed out that the participation by foreign countries at the mela will give a fillip to Indian tourism and enhance the status of craftspersons. It will also help in promoting art, crafts and culture of India in different destinations across the globe, he added.

Mr. Ansari said it was heartening to see women from rural and illiterate backgrounds earning for themselves and the international platform instilled confidence in them. He met a family which came from Kota district of Rajasthan which is known for its famous Kota Doria fabric.

Tajikistan Embassy counsellor (Political) Munizifakhon Babadjanova said: “Our participation in the Surajkund Crafts Mela is a culmination of many factors. In 2008 we had Tajikistan cultural programme in India. Last year, President Pratibha Patil visited our country. In the mela we want to give a touch of our country.”

Tajikistan has come up with exquisite bedcovers and table cloths, daggers, hats and silver and coral jewellery items. On the entertainment front, the partner country has brought in eight dancers who will perform a different dance each day. “Every day they will appear in new dresses and perform a new Tajik dance. This is their first visit to India and they find the atmosphere here very congenial. They can speak a smattering of Hindi and find Indians a friendly lot,” said a representative from the Tajikistan Embassy.

Satyanarayan from Punjab has come with 2,000 hand-made and intricately designed juttis from Patiala. “The juttis have been prepared by me and my karigars. My forefathers were also in this trade and I have come here to popularise Punjabi juttis. This is my second participation and I hope to attract both Indian and foreign buyers.”

National Award winner Indramani Moharana from Orissa is displaying handcrafted statues of goddesses and dancing figures. He is annoyed over the fact that he has been allotted a stall located on the periphery of the mela venue.

“I am unable to carry the six-foot-tall statues as my stall is far away from the gate,” he added.