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December 8, 2018

Bangla Govt brings dokra metal craft back from the brink

Bangla Govt brings dokra metal craft back from the brink

With active help from the State Government, the metal craft of dokra has made a comeback. Dokra of Bangla is not only making its presence across the country but the globe as well.

Mamata Banerjee, since becoming chief minister seven years back, has been making a lot of efforts to see to it that the art and culture and heritage of the State is not lost.

The Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and Textiles (MSME&T) Department and Tourism Departments have been leading the efforts to revive and promote the heritage. The Tourism Department has been making special efforts to promote tourism to areas associated with particular arts and crafts.

Dokra is associated with Bikna, a village in Bankura district. This ancient craft of metal casting through the hollow wax method is believed to be more than 4,000 years old.

The craftsmen’s fortunes began to change for the better when the Trinamool Congress Government that came to power in 2011 decided to intervene.

A memorandum of understanding signed between the State Government and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2013 enabled the formation of rural craft hubs (RCH). The hubs, based on an UNESCO-endorsed model called ‘Art for Life’ were started at 10 craft locations, including in Bikna in 2014.

Experts from the National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur were called to develop a customised furnace for the artisans. The government also facilitated market linkage through the showrooms of Biswa Bangla Corporation.

The government also facilitated the participation of the artisans at fairs across the country. This helped them expand their base. They now sell across the country and internationally too, often through the mode of e-commerce.