Mouth fresheners on sale at the ongoing Swadeshi Mela in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Over 400 rural artisans and craftsmen from across the country have found a fair platform to showcase and sell their products in the state capital.
Swadeshi Mela is back with Morabadi grounds in Ranchi playing host to participants from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Odisha, Gujarat, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, among other states, for seven days.
Organised by the Centre for Bharatiya Marketing Development and sponsored by Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd, the fair, which is being hosted in the state capital for the fifth time, kicked off on April 30 and will continue till May 6. Entry is free.
As many as 200 kiosks have been put up at the venue with a variety of items like handicraft, herbal products, handmade jewellery, cotton fabrics, pickles, pottery, carpets et al up for grabs.
“In the wake of globalisation, many people prefer imported products and our works get ignored. Our products are unique, of great quality and can give a tough competition to imported items. But we hardly get proper exposure,” said a weaver from Madhya Pradesh, Lala Ram, who is selling chanderi salwar suits.
“There are more than 100 weavers here who use vegetable dye to design their products. The quality is so good that the items are a huge hit with foreign buyers too,” Ram added.
A weaver from Bihar, Ranjan Kumar is cashing on the summer demand for cotton. His products are mostly made from cotton. “We mainly design cotton skirts for women. Nearly 150 men and women are involved in this trade,” Kumar said. The price range is Rs 350-Rs 500.
However, the popular demand is for bandhej salwar suits and sarees of Gujarat. “During summer, the bandhej items are a favourite of women,” said Birji Bhai from Ahmedabad.
The others items on sale are bamboo craft of Odisha, kantha stitched textile of Bengal, pottery and terracotta items from Lucknow, intricately designed furniture of Saharanpur and kuchi silk products from Seraikela-Kharsawan district.
The fair, which is open from 11am to 9pm, has also lined up cultural programmes like folk dance, patriotic, ghazal and classical songs soirees in the evening. Children are taking part in fancy dress and painting competitions. There are mehendi and rangoli competitions for women.
As for the sip and bite part, 20 kiosks are taking care of the hunger pangs of visitors with mouth-watering snacks.