Spring had arrived in Kolkata. The balmy weather had ushered in a frenzy of procreation among its flora and fauna. The blossom-laden branches of the seasonal trees swayed in the gentle spring breeze. The air was heavy with an intoxicating cocktail of their fragrance and filled with the frantic call of the cuckoo looking for a mate. Spring is the season to celebrate life and colors, and what else can be a better vehicle to portray the same than art?
The premises of Bengal Ghorana were dazzling under the lights as dusk settled on a golden, spring afternoon. The courtyard was draped in colorful textiles depicting the bright colors of spring. Intricate Indian sculptures lining the courtyard led to the room that was set up for an evening of music, dance, and discussions. Bengal Ghorana was celebrating ‘Kalikata Spring’ over the next two days through an exhibition of handcrafted artifacts, accessories, and sculptures, along with curated conversation around the world of art. The program was a collaboration with Karu, a leader in ethnic craftsmanship, and also presented an opportunity for a diverse set of organizations and independent artisans to come together. It was a moment of pride for Amplo Global CSR team as they saw their efforts from the past year come alive in this collaborative space.
Taking up a proud spot beside the exquisite creations of Karu, was the rustic zinc metal artwork of the Purulia Malohar community. Only a few months prior, this would have seemed like an impossible dream for this disadvantaged and exploited community from the interiors of Purulia. Ostracized by society and fighting financial instability, the Malohar community was forced to take the extreme measure of denying their own identity for the fear of caste-based discrimination. It was only for the perseverance of Ahana, that their creation, an ancient art form handed down through generations, had seen the light of day and was being appreciated by a discerning audience.
Ahana embodies Amplo Global’s vision of women empowerment, especially those coming from the marginalized communities, and of supporting struggling artists and artisans. This remarkable evening in Bengal Ghorana was a proud moment for Amplo Global CSR, who as a mentor, enabler, and integrator, saw their hard work coming alive through Ahana’s vision.
In the opposite corner of the exhibition room, waiting over a very colorful table were three timid young girls; a look of hesitance in their eyes. Kanchan, Debasmita, and Neha belong to a community of educated women who despite being competent have never achieved financial independence due to their reluctance to step out of their homes. Samabedan attempts to brew confidence in these women from a young age, by encouraging them to acquire skills they could rely on financially.
The girls had colorful paper bags on display that they had envisioned and designed based on the training they had received from Samabedan. With their creations receiving appreciation and the first sale, their shyness dramatically transformed into exuberance, the young girls now emphatic in their newly discovered confidence.
Amplo Global CSR was a silent observer taking in this moment of achievement for the youngsters. The past few months had been spent mentoring and providing technical support to Samabedan, bringing their vision to life. Today, with the first sale of their products, everything was coming together.
The story of ‘Kalikata spring’ at this creative assembly at Bengal Ghorana was not limited to Amplo Global’s association with Ahana and Samabedan, for in the development sector, it is impossible and actually unwise for organizations to work in silos. It is the power of the collective that nurtures artists and artisans. It is the collaboration of individual strengths that supports all.
Also gracing the exhibition was Shyamal Biswas, a textile designer with his vast array of self-designed Khadi handloom sarees. When we talked to him, rather than pitching his own products, he was showcasing the work of a veteran weaver, Gauranga Basak from Fulia, Purulia, who specializes in handloom Tangail sarees. “After thirty-five years, he probably has to give up it seems,” said Shyamal. “It is a losing battle against the power looms. They sell the sarees at half his price. How can he even compete?”. It was the bitter truth, but not an uncommon one. This is one of the many reasons Amplo Global CSR partners with organizations who want to change the landscape, to save our artisans.
Shyamal has been a significant contributor to Ahana’s skill-building initiative among the women of the hill community in Kalimpong. As part of the team, he traveled to the mountains to conduct training programs with local women weavers who specialize in traditional woollen designs and challenge their skills to embrace modernity. Today he was here as an independent seller and reaping the benefits of the collaboration.
The journey ahead
The joy, laughter, and hope that reverberated through the evening was proof that the celebration of ‘Kalikata Spring’ was only a preview to an upcoming enchanting story of alliances. Amplo Global is an organization with a cause, that takes pride in being an enabler and mentor for visionaries who dream of bringing positive change to our world. It provides a platform for talented professionals to contribute to non-profit causes. By marrying technology to social impact it propels social development truly into the twenty-first century.
In the days to come Amplo Global CSR aims to expand its journey of collaboration, reaching out to organizations who work with a purpose, supporting them, and together working toward a better tomorrow.
It’s a firm belief of Amplo Global CSR, that this evening at ‘Kalikata Spring’, was a precursor of many eventful days to come.