Art and craft in Barak Valley

SILCHAR, Sept 21: Barak Valley is an impressive site impregnated with rich potential in indigenous artistry and excellent craftsmanship. The cottage industries are located in the remote suburbs, primordially among the country sides sporadically unattended and unsung. A good number of men and women practising the art are compelled to live a meagre living.
They are the dwindling minorities. Government apathy and inefficient policies have shoved them to their socio-economic confinement today. But with the perceptible shift in policies, currently, only a microscopic section are at the receiving end. Nevertheless, the local artisans in virtue of their die-hard psyche and pragmatic intuition poise to work for their necessary requirements.
Barak Valley, a geo-cultural continuance of Bangladesh, in the past with its perennial relevance to the Northeast has been an important breeding ground of heterogeneous craft practices. Today, in this era of globalization, craft practices world wide have rejuvenated with fresh aspirations. The waves of reform have also touched the local entrepreneurs, but, failed unlike other parts in creating a new vision and temperament in craft management.
However, there is a need to pay greater attention on effective market policy. Fortune in marketing hangs on an array of factors from defining customer’s choice and estimation of demand to an effective pricing policy, following the market dynamics and importantly chalking out an efficient sales promotion policy, because here it has been observed that poor advertisements remain responsible for weaker motivation.
Keeping in mind the vast potential of hand loom and handicraft, efforts must be made to boost exports from the region also. The exim-policy of 2002-2007 provides additional transport subsidy to the exporters from the Northeast. The Central Government announcing its exim policies, provided a number of facilities, incentives and assistance to the export sector to widen its share in the world trade.
People who came into the business 10 or 15 years earlier managed otherwise in absence of coordination from the State and the Central Governments. Thanks to their efforts, they made sufficient impact on public life and contributed towards the social development in their respective capacities.
Suman Choudhury, a successful businessman today, masterminded the project 40 years ahead when handicraft had no industrial shape in Barak Valley. He curved out his niche slowly and gradually and set up his own factory at Meherpur (Silchar). Chowdhury additionally provides training to novices and pays them from the profit.
Promod Sinha runs his own NGO and has risen to great feats from a humble beginning. He is a good motivator and took the maiden initiative to set up solar energy installations in his village at Behara, approximately 45 km away from Silchar. Sinha demonstrated the wider applications of solar energy. His noble enterprise benefited not only his own village but many other villages and have been serving as an alternative to electrical appliances.
Rina Singh is an entrepreneur of her genre and a self-styled artist-designer, having penchant for social work. She is interested in hand loom particularly and a diligent explorer into the traditional forms. Her craft speaks of her skill, elegance and clarity. Rina owns her Self Help Group at Lakhipur, 35 km away from Silchar, consisting 45 ladies of different ages.
It should be mentioned that private ventures in South Asom are mostly small and thus unwarranted to competition. For an overall elevation, the key factors of competitive advantage in the region should be properly harnessed. It will create a large number of employment opportunities. Therefore, policies must effectively be sought in this direction considering the promises they unfold in the future. (Source - The Sentinel)

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