Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Khadi Fair 2016 : A Success Story

West Bengal State Khadi Mela 2016

With winter making its arrival felt, Kolkata gets ready for fairs, fetes, function, exhibition and all kinds of cultural refreshment. Today Bong Journalese team visited one of the traditional fairs of Bengal and let me share our experience.

West Bengal Khadi & Village Industries Board ( Under Department of M&SSE & Textiles) like each year organized the Khadi fair in Taltala EEDF Ground 432, Prince Anwar Shah Road Kolkata-45 being held between 16th Dec 2016 and 2nd Jan 2017. Such Khadi fairs are organized by the authority in North Bengal, Murshidabad, Barasat ( North 24 Parganas) & Purulia districts of west Bengal. There are 53 stalls represented by the artisans and weavers from the 20 districts of the state. The fair had a whopping success last year with a sale of INR 1.2 Crore and they are speculating a target of around INR 2.5 Crore given the boost of improvised trendy design and variety of quality items.With the government impetus and direction of Mrs. Mamata Banerjee ( Hon'ble Chief Minister of W.B) the authority has conducted perennial training and technology up gradation drives ( Muslin Tirtha ) for the weavers and encouragement in marketing of the produce is a major achievement.
Mr. Mrityunjoy Badopadhyay ( CEO of WBKVIB ) admitted that since the inception of WBKVIB in 1959 this is probably the best phase and as we spoke to Mr.Swapan Biswas ( COO of WBKVIB) who illustrated the synergy built in the sector and also mentioned that organizations like Banglanatok.com, fashion designers, NGOs have also come forward to make the Khadi brand not only a household commodity but also a trusted item for the overseas market. The Mela had organized on 18th a fashion ramp show which was a insta-hit. There are also cultural programs in the weekend evenings to attract more visitors. In the wake of the demonetization issue, primarily there was some doubt regarding dispensing enough cash, however, the association has ensured that each stall is equipped with card swipe machines and it shows when within the first week itself the sale has crossed 30 Lacs.

Lets get used to the terms: 

Khadi is the age old traditional practice of the weavers of India to make thread from cotton run in hand wheel and later weave the thread to produce cotton garments or Khadi. India is the front runner in introducing this textile technology to the world. Mahatma Gandhi was a staunch votary of hand woven textile and throughout his life stood for the promotion and use of Khadi material.

The Muslin is the finest form of khadi ( depends on thread counts varying from 200 to 500, the greater the count the finer) which is expensive and exported for its rare quality. You can witness a 500 count Muslin saree can pass through a ring!! The refined cotton is known for its comfort in summer heat as well as the fine pores allow the skin to perspire.

Bengal Silk is mostly produced in Murshidabad & Malda and the quality vies for the best in India.The leather products and handicraft made by the several artisan and craftsmen are truly international.

The Mela is a perfect shopping destination for buyers who seek for rare and authentic items directly from the makers and could choose from a wide range of ethnic, traditional, trendy, exotic designs from the varied parts of the state which is hard to access at any single store at other time of the year. The price is most reasonable and with festive offers the Mela is a treasure hunt!!


Handicrafts of Bengal

Photo Curtesy: PRAT

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