Paresh Rathwa, a beneficiary of the Tribal Entrepreneur Development Program (TEDP), a joint venture between the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) and the national agency ASSOCHAM, has received the prestigious ‘Gujarat Travel and Tourism Excellence Award 2021’ in the Best Handicraft category. .
Paresh Rathwa (53) is a tribal artisan from Chhota Udepur district in the state of Gujarat. He and his family have been involved in Pithora painting for centuries.
“Pithora paintings are found in ancient caves and are believed to be more than 12,500 years old. This is done for the god of the tribe – Pithora Baba. It was done on the earthen wall before the auspicious ceremony as a way to thank the gods for their blessings, ”Rathwa explained.
Receiving the award from Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendrabhai Patel, Rathwa said that it was truly a great honor for him and his entire community for the hard work they put in.
Rathwa explains that he was inspired to draw by his grandfather, who painted walls with traditional paintings during weddings and happy occasions. “My son, Moulik, who is 26 years old, has joined me today in preserving the old tradition. In addition to the walls, we draw on canvas and handmade paper, ”he said.
Selection for TEDP is a game-changer
Rathwa said the training organized by the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs was a life-changing experience for him and other artisans. “We never knew the internet before. Today, after the successful completion of digital training, we have created our Facebook and WhatsApp profiles and are now promoting these traditional images on social media, ”he said.
He explained that the TEDP initiative would help create awareness about ancient traditions and culture among the next generation. “I believe I received the award because of my popularity on social media. It will inspire artisans like me to do better and attract a new generation, ”he added.