Virasat

Moulding the Vessels of Hope
Project Virasat is an umbrella organisation that aims to revive the age old craft-forms of India. Under Project Virasat, we have established P-TAL in an effort to revive the dying art form of handcrafting copper and brass utensils using hammering techniques, by mobilising artisans and providing them access to organised credit, contemporary designs and better demand avenues.

Visit our project site at : www.p-tal.in

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Project Virasat is trying to bring back the Thatheras to their traditional occupation by unifying and organising them into an institutionalised setup and help them realise greater profits and higher incomes. We have also organised our community of craftsmen, Thatheras, into a self help group, and established a legal entity known as 'Punjabi Thathera Art Legacy', abbreviated as P-TAL, the brand name under which our products are sold and the hindi name for brass.

Development of contemporary designs, provision of finer tools, and upskilling of the artisans through training workshops by noted craft researchers and industry majors has led to increased market demand for the products of the Thatheras. Also, our efforts to ensure sustainable access to demand avenues for the Thatheras have been realised through the setting up of our own retail outlet in the popular tourist destination of Gobindgarh Fort in Amritsar, presence in several retail stores across Delhi NCR (Ghitorni, Khan Market etc.), display at Mumbai International Airport and our own direct retail website - www.ptal.in

The unique craft of Thatheras of Jandiala Guru in Amritsar is the only craft form of India to be inscribed on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014. Designs are made by skillfully hammering a series of tiny dents into heated brass metal.

It was due to our sustained efforts that the craft form was relisted on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The craft form holds the distinction of being the first and only craft form from the country to be on the list.

In the near future we are looking at enabling Government sponsored promotion of the craft as a signature craft of Punjab. In the long term, we aim to set up P-TAL branded permanent retail outlets in upmarket areas of Indian cities to ensure continued demand. We also aim to provide international exposure to the craft by enabling export opportunities with an ultimate goal to make the Thatheras world-renowned and establish Jandiala Guru as a tourist hub.

Goals and Objectives of Project Virasat

// Preserve

To preserve our cultural heritage and revive the traditional craft form

//  Provide

To provide higher incomes and greater incentive to work to the craftsmen

// Promote

To promote health benefits of copper and brass utensils

// The Community and the Business Model

The Thatheras of Jandiala Guru possess a legacy that can be traced back to over 200 years ago, when the village was established as a colony of craftsmen during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The community produces handcrafted copper and brass utensils using the traditional technique of hammering. But, exploitation at the hands of a Kasariya (middleman) and lack of stable incomes due to reduced demand for copper and brass utensils (due to the onslaught of steel and aluminium products) had forced these traditional craftsmen to seek employment in other domains, thus resulting in the decline of the art form.

The ones who remained had to work as mere labourers in dingy, unhygienic cells with no electricity, exposed to risks of hearing impairment and other health hazards.

Project Virasat aims to revive the art form with the following five-step business model:

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Triple Bottom-Line Impact

// Economic

Development of contemporary designs, provision of finer tools, and upskilling of the artisans through training workshops by noted craft researchers and industry majors has led to increased market demand for the products of the Thatheras. Also, our efforts to ensure sustainable access to demand avenues for the Thatheras have been realised through the setting up of our own retail outlet in the popular tourist destination of Gobindgarh Fort in Amritsar as well as our own direct retail website www.p-tal.org. We have also gotten online listings at major portals such as Lal10, Engrave and SouvNear.

Higher revenues through impressive sales being realised through these demand avenues, and increased profitability in niche markets has led to a substantial increase in regular incomes for Thatheras. In addition to this, the support of the Punjab Government has enabled access for the Thatheras to grants worth Rs. 10 lakhs each year for the next four years.

// Social

The craft form of the Thatheras in Jandiala Guru is revived with increased interest being shown by traditional craftsmen of the village who had chosen other professions, to get back to making handcrafted utensils again. The rejuvenation of self-esteem can also be linked to the unified legal existence the artisans now enjoy, in the form of an SHG, a society, and an Udyog Aadhaar. Besides, our efforts at upskilling the craftsmen through workshops by noted craft researchers and industry heavyweights are also improving the social standing of the Thatheras. The Government’s proposal to sponsor the promotion of the craft as a signature craft of Punjab shall further motivate the craftsmen.

// Environmental

Project Virasat has significantly improved upon unhygienic hazardous working conditions by providing safety gear and industrial grade ear muffs. The numerous health benefits of brass and copper utensils shall prove to be of immense benefit to the users, with increased lifespan and healthspan.

// Our Vision

In the near future we are looking at enabling Government sponsored promotion of the craft as a signature craft of Punjab. In the long term, we aim to set up P-TAL branded permanent retail outlets in upmarket areas of Indian cities to ensure continued demand. We also aim to provide international exposure to the craft by enabling export opportunities with an ultimate goal to make the Thatheras world-renowned and establish Jandiala Guru as a tourist hub.

Download our latest Product Catalogue here.