Mithila, a small town is Bihar is very famous for its Mithila Paintings. A lot of artists in Mithila have Padmashree in their names for the work they have done, but still live pitiable situations. Ankit Jha was born and bought up in that village. He studied computer science engineer from Belgaum but quit his software engineer job at an IT company to help improve the conditions of these artists. This was the start of eMithilaHaat project. eMithilaHaat stands for an online market of Mithila.
The company was registered in Darbhanga in Dec 2013 and it started its operations on Feb this year from Bangalore. For the initial months, Gurmeet Singh Ahuja, Jitendra Kishore Jha and Ankit Jha used to figure out ways to make eMithilaHaath visible to their niche market. Their artists follow Geographical Indication norms, which this art is famous for. (Read more about GI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographical_indication )
“I knew a lot of people who used to paint, but realized the importance of this art late in 2013. I came to know that these artists have bagged number of prestigious awards like Padmashree, Bihar Ratna, Guru Shreshta Shilpa, National Awards etc. Japan has a museum dedicated to this art. A number of documentary movies has been done on this subject. Even after all of these interesting facts, the artists were unable to find market and thus failing to sell their artwork,” says Ankit. Ankit took this up as a challenge and decided to provide an opportunity to the artists to reach a broader market and keep the style of painting alive in its original form.
The team comprises of 7 people, including 2 interns and one fashion designer. The paintings they sell has a certificate of genuineness making them different from other players of the market. “Our main aim is not to sell these arts and make lot of money out of it. Our focus is to take this art to a level it deserves,” says Jitendra, who is also Ankit’s father and mentor. They are currently selling only paintings but plan to expand to apparel ranges and home decors soon. The company is bootstrapped with the savings of the founders.
eMithilaHaat company is not currently partnering with other organizations but are looking for like-minded people and organizations who can help them take this art to an international level. As a message for future entrepreneurs, Ankit says, “Follow your dreams. No matter how crazy those dreams are. If you have dared to see that dream then you have ability to get them in reality. Don’t bother about the noise which you will surely come across if you are following your dreams. Don’t quit.”
The vision of taking the Mithila Art to global level and helping the artist’s gain a respectful lifestyle is what keeps the founders awake. Join hands with them and promote the art!