Aajeevika Mela binds people from across the country

New Delhi [India], April 22 (ANI): India's culture and traditions have always stood out for their uniqueness and diversity, and the central government strives to promote and bring this forth at frequent intervals, especially from the remote areas.

One such event was the 23rd Aajeevika Mela organised by the Rural Development Ministry of India under its National Rural Livelihood Mission at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from 14th April to 23rd April, 2017.

The 10-day-long exhibition's focus was on ways to fight poverty by providing a sustainable livelihood to people through various skilling programmes.

Around 500 artisans, weavers, painters and sculptors belonging to various Self Help Groups (SHGs) from all over the country are participating in the fair and are exhibiting their traditional and contemporary handicrafts and handloom products.

On show are handlooms, handicrafts, artefacts, heritage products, fashion and beauty articles, cane and bamboo products, tribal exotic ornaments, metallic products and many others.

According to the artisans, though everything has been organized properly, there is a lack of publicity due to which customers are not turning up.

Aasha Negi, a member of Aasha Deep Self Help Group, KETTI, Himachal Pradesh, said, "The mela is very good, several facilities have been provided and we also praise this initiative of government, but the mela has failed to attract customers towards it which can be due to lack of publicity."

Another member from the Kitsuphe Women Krotho SHG, Nagaland, said that they have come from six different places i.e. Kohima, Dimapur, Phek, Mon and Kiphire. It's for the first time that they have come here and bought several handicrafts and handloom products, traditional jewellery and some organic eatable items but due to lack of customers their products are not selling.

A cultural programme was also organised by the Song and Drama Division of the Ministry of Information And Broadcasting, inviting eminent artistes and troupes from across the country.

The fair not only offered visitors with a shopping experience, but provided them with an opportunity to meet the faces behind these meticulously made products.

Stall keepers willingly explained the keen visitors about the handicraft-making process. Many sellers also kept some samples to illustrate the various stages of the production, thus making it a truly enriching experience for the visitors.

The fair mostly included stalls put up by women, who themselves were producers and sellers, thus encouraging them to lead an independent life.

A woman named Aajilita Jain from Jharkhand state livelihood promotion society said that they use to train ladies and encourage them to become independent. Another woman from Janakalyan Lakhimi SHG, Assam was really happy to get such a platform to promote their products.

Visitors from several states also came to view this crafts mela and had a touch of our traditional handicrafts. For their convenience, one SBI ATM counter was also opened just outside the mela.

E-money transfer facility was also provided for helping exhibitors and visitors to have smooth business transaction. The mela not only served as a platform for the artisans but also helped in creating awareness among the urbanites about the existence of various local products of different Indian states, as many of us might not be aware of several products.

Arvind Kumar, a visitor from Rajasthan, said he is getting to see a lot of things which he had never seen before. He added that the way these people from several states are selling their products served as a great source of motivation for small traders. (ANI)