At least 30 artisans and entrepreneurs passed out in the 2023 batch of Creative and Cultural Business Programme (CCBP) at IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA). The batch recently got their certificates and organised an exhibition of their products as the culmination of the course.
26-year-old Rajesh Khokhar from Anjar in Gujarat’s Kutch was among the passouts. He has travelled the world, including the US and the UK, through his craft of Rabari and Ahir stitching styles with Ajrakh in which he experiments with both native Kala cotton and tussar silk.
“The material from which my ancestors made durries and blankets, I am making into stoles and saris,” says Khokhar, who comes from a family of artisans.
“Through courses and workshops at places such as NIFT, I understood that if I want to make the craft sustainable, I will have to understand the market and the changes I can make to our age-old craft.”
Officials associated with the course said that of the 30 students, 76% were women and six or 20% were from Gujarat. Both these percentages are higher than from earlier batches.
Another participant in the course was Indrajeet Sawant from Kishkinda Trust, based in Anegundi village near the Unesco World Heritage Site of Hampi in Karnataka.
“The ecosystem there revolves around sustainability and cultural immersion. Local people are trained in creating banana fibre products and the entire village has vernacular architecture where visitors can see artisans in action,” he said.
“This course helped me put the ethos of the project into perspective and learn how to communicate it to a wider audience while keeping in mind the community’s interests,” Sawant added.