Govt initiatives help artisans turn self reliant
The state government’s initiative to revive and preserve ethnic culture has helped many artisans in the state who are going through abject poverty by making them economically stable.
The steps for their revival have been taken by the Backward Classes Welfare department. It is interesting to note that the department from June 2011 till February 2016 has issued 45.42 lakh caste certificates to people coming under SC/ST and OBC category. The erstwhile government had issued only 13.23 lakh caste certificates from June 2006 till may 2011. One of its unique venture is the Kabigan Academy at Bongaon in North 24 Parganas at an estimated cost of Rs 2 crore by the Backward Classes Welfare department. Kabigan had played an important role in the cultural history of Bengal. Those who presented kabigans were called kabials. They would sing, compose songs and even present them before public. They were invited by the zamindars during Durga puja and other festivals. Famous Kabial Bhola Moira had a sweet shop in Baghbazar and it is said that he had defeated his rival Antony. Cinemas have been made on the lives and work of both of them. The department is organising regular programmes including festival of Baul, Gambhira, Jhumur and Bhatiali where the performers get a chance to present the rare art before public. Along with this, Kantha exhibition and workshop are regularly held. Woodcraft and puppetry exhibitions have become immensely popular within this short span of time.
The dhakis, who were facing poverty as the art was nearly dying, have become financially stable as they are now engaged in blocks and municipalities to give publicity of the affairs of BCWD by beating the traditional drums. It may be recalled that beating of drums to inform people is an old tradition and was prevalent during the time of Kings and British Raj. But over the years this system has become disfunctional and many of the dhakis were forced to beg. Theis schemes have brought light to them.