Reviving Traditions, Empowering Artisans: Ankesh Banjare's Journey with Coshal
Ankesh Banjare, Class of 2018, shares his journey of establishing Coshal, which works with artisans specialising in Dokra art, Chattisgarh.
India, among other things, is known for its rich and diverse handicrafts and handlooms. Sadly, the industry is stricken with poverty, lack of funds for those creating these to keep our heritage alive. I firmly believe that creating opportunities in this decentralised industry will not only retain our traditions but also help create jobs as the industry grows.
My enterprise focuses on the Jhara tribal community artisans of Chhattisgarh, near Raigarh, that has 300 families. These artisans create Dokra art or bell metal art. We endeavour to identify potential markets to sell their products. We also help them understand market demands by providing new designs, integrating it with daily use items to increase the usability, variety and range of products. We also manufacture tribal jewellery products by collaborating with a Self-Help Group (SHG) of six differently-abled women.
A year ago, I met Tirnath, a highly skilled artisan who was awarded by the Chattisgarh government a few years ago. His family of six survives by selling his creations. However, the lack of proper economic means emptied his savings due to personal and medical reasons.
Since working with him, he has been able to generate sufficient funds that helped him restart his savings and building inventory. I made it a point to we pay him 75% in advance to help him manage his expenses while completing his orders.
Speaking with during the COVID-19 lockdown made me emotional. Although the situation affected the business, he said to me, “If you are going to be in loss, then I won’t let you bear it alone. We will share it because as you grow, I grow with you and I trust you in doing the right thing.”