*Representational image

India is home to a large number of tribes. In fact Tribes constitute over 8% of our total population. What makes them unique is that they have retained their natural, simple ways of life, despite the hectic pace of modernisation among them. 

Their arts, crafts, music, dance, cuisine, all reflect a timelessness and uniqueness associated with their lives. Unfortunately, this also places them in the fringe and among the disadvantaged sections of the population, considering that their sources of livelihood stem from either natural forest produce or their arts, crafts and handicrafts. 

In a unique initiative, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi marked International Women’s Day on 8th March this year by purchasing various products from Tribes India website, celebrating their “enterprise, creativity and Indian culture”. 

The aim was to give an impetus to entrepreneurial development of Tribal women all over the country and Atmanirbhar Bharat. Prime Minister purchased unique pieces from the Tribes India website. Talking about the women’s role in India’s quest for Aatmnirbharta, Shri Modi tweeted “Women are playing a leading role in India’s quest to become Atmanirbhar. 

On International Women’s Day, let us commit to encouraging entrepreneurship among women”. The exquisite products bought by Shri Narendra Modi include embroidered shawl made by the artisans of the Toda Tribe of Tamil Nadu, a Gond painting by Smt Sarita Dhurvi, a tribal artisan from Dindori district, Samnapur Tehsil, Madhya Pradesh, a handmade jute file folder in maroon colour Made by the artisans from the Santhal tribe of West Bengal, a Khadi Cotton Madhubani Painted Stole, a traditional shawl from Nagaland, a Gamusa made by self-help groups of Kakatipapung Development Block of Assam and Classic Palm Craft Nilavilakku made by woman based in Kerala. 

Sharing the details of the purchase, the Prime Minister tweeted, “Adding more colour to the surroundings! Art by our tribal communities is spectacular. This handcrafted Gond Paper Painting merges colours and creativity. Bought this painting today. #NariShakti.” He said, “I am eagerly awaiting to receive Classic Palm Craft Nilavilakku made by women based in Kerala. It is commendable how our #NariShakti has preserved and popularised local crafts and products.”

The Gond painting is painted by Smt Sarita Dhurvi, a tribal artisan from Dindori district, Samnapur Tehsil, Madhya Pradesh.

Through the vibrant, earthy colours and her vivid imagination in this painting, the artist is depicting the creation of nature. Gond tribal art, practised by the Gond tribe in Madhya Pradesh, reflect man’s close connection with the natural surroundings around him. 

 Equally unique is the exquisite form of embroidery practised by the Toda tribes of the Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu. A pastoral community, mainly dependent on their buffalos and milk, the Todas have been living in the hills for over 3500 years. The Toda embroidery is now a GI tagged product and also adorns dining tableware, bed covers, bags and other merchandise, besides of course the shawl. With its red and black thread work on white, the pretty embroidery is so fine, often gets mistaken for weaves at first glance. 

The Toda shawl ‘Puthukuli’ ordered by the Prime Minister has been crafted by the Toda artisan, Smt. Monisha. She belongs to the Toda Primitive Tribes of Tamil Nadu. It takes three months to finish a Toda shawl.

Talking about the Nagaland Shawl, the Prime Minister tweeted “India is proud of the Naga Culture, synonymous with bravery, compassion and creativity. Purchased a traditional shawl from Nagaland. Nari shakti. 

These tribal entrepreneurs and artisans are indeed proud and elated as their products purchased by the Prime Minister on tribesindia.com drew the attention of the country. 

Following the clarion call of the Prime Minister to promote women entrepreneurship, and in particular that of the tribal women, Smt. Smriti Irani, Minister for Textiles; Dr Harshvardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare; and Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, also purchased products from Tribes India website. Smt. Smriti Irani bought a bright, and beautiful Kantha cotton/ silk saree, handcrafted by the master craftswomen of West Bengal, while Dr. Harshvardhan purchased a multicolour cotton shirt and some foxtail millets. Shri Piyush Goyal bought a handloom woven herringbone waist coat.

Keeping in line with the clarion call of Atmanirbhar Abhiyan, amongst its other flagship programmes to improve the livelihoods of the tribal communities, TRIFED has an exclusive marketplace for tribal producers – forest dwellers and artisans, to facilitate the purchase of MFPs, handicrafts and handlooms online

The Tribes India platform (tribesindia.com) offers the best of tribal handicrafts and natural organic products and brings them directly to your doorsteps! An effort to empower lakhs of tribal artisans and enterprises, with a variety of natural and sustainable produce and products, the Tribes India website offers a glimpse into the age-old traditions of our tribal brethren.

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