Out to be a helping hand for the dying art of hand-made brass and copper made utensils, which are also recognized by the UNESCO at World Level, Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Tourism and Culture, S. Navjot Singh Sidhu personally visited the Thatheras (craftsmen at Jandiala Guru) and also announced a corpus fund of Rs. 10 Lakh for the revival and existence of this art while adding that money will never be a dearth for these craftsmen at Jandiala Guru.The Punjab Minister, who was accompanied by Amritsar Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Kamaldeep Singh Sangha, Director Punjab Tourim Mr. Shiv Dular Singh and students of ENACTUS Sree Ram College of Commerce, went through the narrow streets of traditional bazaars where the Thatheras carve these impressive utensils, assured whole hearted support to the craftsmen.Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was touched by the effort and glory this art has brought to the place, said, “It is a matter of pride this is the only Indian craft form to find place in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. These people are our pride and today I promise them that this government of Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh stands rock solid with them and will never let this art fade away”
Sidhu, who sat with the Thatheras and understood that how these utensils are made said, “I have announced a Corpus Fund of Rs. 10 Lakh for them and also we will give a shop to them in the city where they can showcase their utensils. Money will never be a dearth for them and as soon as more funds are required, we will release.”The Minister also applauded the effort of Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Sangha and Enactus who worked hard to support this art. The Minister promised that this art will be show cased at the world level and in the coming time more efforts will be done to further strengthen their situation.Sidhu said that now these products have already been showcased at various exhibitions in a much smarter and modified way. They are under a brand named P-Tal and the effort is to further take this glory to each and every place of the world.Notably, both Amritsar Deputy Commissioner and Enactus had played a very good role in project named ‘project virasat’, which is a joint initiative taken by the District Administration of Amritsar and Enactus Shri Ram College of Commerce. Enactus SRCC works towards uplifting the lives of underprivileged communities through different social entrepreneurship projects.
'Project Virasat' was taken up with an aim to uplift the 'Thathera' community of Jandiala Guru in the district of Amritsar, who hammer brass, copper and kansa into beautiful utensils. This is the only Indian Craft form to be listed in UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage since independence. Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha said that this craft form flourished during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. However, due to low income resulting from competition from aluminium products as well as low cost factory made utensils, it has become an increasingly difficult task for Thatheras to earn good income from this craft. Over the decades, the count of the families involved in this traditional craft/profession came down in big number.The District Administration of Amritsar, in collaboration with Enactus Shri Ram College of Commerce, conducted extensive surveys and comprehensive research to find out the problems faced by the community.
The three major reasons leading to their current situation have been the lack of design modifications meeting contemporary market needs, very little exposure to the niche market which should be their target clientele, and prevalent internal competition among Thatheras, hinting towards the need of revitalizing their craft by providing them product designs so as to make their products fetch handsome prices in the niche market. This required bringing them under the umbrella of a Self Help group/cooperative, told the DC.After assessing the problems faced by the Thatheras, the Administration along with the Enactus and designers look aggressive marketing, new designs in the utensils, modifications and various other elements.Initially few Thatheras came on board but soon the number increased and under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar, Punjab Thathera Art Legacy was formed under the Societies Act, 1860.DC, who accompanied the Minister assured that with Punjab Minister announcing the money and also assuring us that money won’t be a problem for this art, this craft of Jandiala Guru will see a new era.