PTAL: Punjab Thathera Art Legacy by Kirti Goel
An entity that works for the rejuvenation of the craft form of hammering brass to make utensils.
The traditional craft of hammering brass is the only craft form of India to be inscribed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Despite this great feat, the craft form is on the verge of extinction and the number of 'Thatheras', the craftsmen, has reduced from 500 to mere 30. Thatheras, having lost the ability to listen, sit back saddened as the culture of their past fades away into a future that looks nothing but gloomy, dark and full of debt.
In spite of the fact that products are fully customized, handmade, available in lots of designs and aesthetically appealing, these products still face the problem of low acceptance. Not only does brass have historic value but various health benefits are accrued to it. They are key to healthy living in today's life of constant running and ignorance.
India is home to more than 40,000 craft forms, where craft is the second largest sector of rural income yet our heritage and culture has been forgotten by many. Enactus SRCC, a student run organization undertaking several community outreach endeavors, initiated it's very own social entrepreneurship venture named Project Virasat in order to revive the dying art forms of the country.
Project Virasat is an umbrella organisation under which we have established Punjab Thathera Art Legacy (PTAL) in order to revive the dying art form of handcrafting copper and brass utensils using hammering techniques through mobilizing artisans and providing them access to organised credit, contemporary designs and better demand avenues.
"We are currently working on expanding and sustaining our demand avenues and creating marketing linkages. The important sources of revenue for us are various exhibitions (IITF, Dastkar etc.), Retail outlets(Jaya he, Taj Khazana, Gully 39, etc) and online presence at Amazon, Flipkart, House of Artisans and many more", says the team at PTAL.
The Thatheras of Jandiala Guru are a community of skilled craftsmen who specialize in the traditional technique of making hand crafted brass,copper and bell metal utensils by hammering metal sheets. This unique craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru in Amritsar is the first craft of India to be inscribed in the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014. As time passed, due to the onset of changing culture and modernized tastes, the Thatheras lost their stature.
PTAL has adopted a dual-faceted approach of developing aesthetic products for the niche markets, and utility based products for the mass markets. Our intent is to develop products which are pleasing to the eyes, and at the same time have utility for the consumers.
"Our long term goal is to involve the next generation of the community in this craft, by showing to them the lucrativeness of the craft and its immense untapped potential in the market. Our goal is to take the craft to international markets, and to simultaneously improve the livelihood and infrastructure for the holistic sustenance and development of the craft at every stage. Like the Thatheras, P-TAL is an epitomy of making tradition a trend, preserving legacy through legal entity converting practice into perfection thus molding the vessels of hope!", added the team at PTAL.
About the Founder:
The founder,, Ms. Kirti Goel specializes in curation, styling and apparel designing. Her achievements include setting up twelve handicraft shops at Qila Gobindgarh, Amritsar and reviving a lost Craft (listed in UNESCO). She has managed end to end operations to include analysis, product development, community engagement, process flows and business development.
She indulged in an exclusive interview with TDC sharing the insights on journey of PTAL. Read the interview here.