MANGALDAI, Aug 22 - �Art can never be taught. It can only be passed from generation to generation and from heart to heart. That�s what I have witnessed from the inventions of the artisans,� said Utpal Gokhle, General Manager, Export Import Bank of India (Exim Bank), Mumbai on Tuesday at Sipajhar, 16 kilometres from here. He was attending as the chief guest in the valedictory function of the month-long Design Development Training workshop for weavers of Darrang district, organised with the joint collaboration of the Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi (RGVN) and Exim Bank for 50 selected women weavers.
In his address to the participating weavers and the local people present, he further stated that India�s export potential in the handloom and handicraft sector is presently more than 15 billion dollars, but unfortunately we are able to export only 300 to 400 million dollars. This is because somehow along the way we have allowed our traditional arts to die and this is a small effort on the part of the Exim Bank with the help of premier organisations like RGVN to keep traditional arts alive and help it find a place in the global arena.
Earlier, recounting their experience in the month-long workshop, two participating artisans Jonali Saharia of Dakhsin Chuburi village and Pranati Deka of No 2 Chengapara village said that even though they have long experience of traditional skills, but for the first time in the workshop, they acquired knowledge of introducing new technology, which would help them to upgrade their efficiency for quality production in less time and labour. However, they did not consider one month�s time sufficient to make them fully confident and urged the organisers to arrange more such trainings within a short span of time. The function which ended with vote of thanks from Mina Pathak, Project Coordinator was also addressed by Dr Amiya Kr Sarma, Executive Director, RGVN and Nani Kr Saikia, prominent local social activist among others.
It may be recalled that the main objective of the workshop was product development and to provide inputs on modern designing of handloom products so that the product can capture the the imagination of overseas buyers and help enhance the income level of the artisans. The workshop was a part of Exim Bank�s Grassroots Initiative and Development (GRID), through which they supported grassroots enterprises across the country in skill building for various income generating activities.