Seema Magazine

Mridula Tangirala Interview

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Mridula Tangirala, Head of Crafts and Tourism, Tata Trusts is working towards ensuring that rural communities monetize their cultural and natural assets through products and experiences.

Tata Trusts’ Antaran is an an initiative by India’s oldest philanthropic organization, aimed at rejuvenating the handloom sector by empowering artisans to support their journey into entrepreneurship that is ably led by Mridula Tangirala.

Antaran’s mission is to empower and enable weaving communities to sustain their culture through the development of structured education and a well-shaped ecosystem.

Some of the steps taken to empower artisans to be entrepreneurs include building access and awareness of national and international market, including holding solo events for participation in craft bazaars, fashion weeks, or international trade shows like Maison et Objet. Exposure to E-commerce from NEFT/ UPI Payments to move to the use of digital platforms including Antaran Artisan Connect, Etsy, Gocoop, Pernia pop shop.

An artist at work
An artist at work

Digital and social media intervention, which especially helped sustain their business during the pandemic, and provided them with the know-how on interacting with customers through phone, video calls, WhatsApp for business, product postings on Instagram and Facebook, product photography and use of hashtags.

Antaran works to bring about fundamental improvements in craft, starting with the handloom sector. The team faced certain challenges during their intervention with the artisans as many did not have access to smartphones or computers and a stable network connection.

The goal of this intervention is to alter six pilot weaving clusters by establishing entrepreneur-led microenterprises at each stage of the value chain. The programme intends to pilot a model to revitalise India’s handloom sector and other crafts through systematic interventions and to make craft practise a viable source of income for traditional craftsmen.

Read the full story that first appeared in Seema Magazine here:

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