Paresh Rathwa, a beneficiary of the Tribal Entrepreneurship Development Program (TEDP), a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) and the national Body ASSOCHAM has received the prestigious ‘Gujarat Travel and Tourism Excellence Award 2021’ in the Best Handicraft category.

Paresh Rathwa (53) is a tribal artisan belonging to the Chhota Udepur district in the state of Gujarat. He and his family has been involved in the art work of the age old Pithora Painting.

“Pithora Painting is found in the ancient caves and is believed to be more than 12500 years old. It is done for the God of tribe- Pithora baba. It used to be done on mud walls before during auspicious occasion as a way of thanking the gods for their blessings,” Rathwa explained.

Receiving the award from the Honorable Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel, Rathwa stated that it is indeed a great honor for him and his entire community for the hard work that they have put.

“I have also received a state award in the year 2018 as well. In the year 2019, the governor of Gujarat visited our village to check on the painting, he also felicitated me on the occasion,” he informed.

Rathwa explains that he got the inspiration to paint from his grandfather, who used to paint walls with the traditional painting during marriages and auspicious occasions. “My son, Maulik who is 27 years of age has also got involved with me in conserving the age old tradition today. Other than walls, we also paint on canvas and hand-made paper,” he said.

Selection for the TEDP a game changer

Rathwa informed that the training organized by the ministry of Tribal Affairs was a life changing experience for him and the other artisans. “We had never known internet earlier. Today, after the successful completion of the digital training, we have created our Facebook and WhatsApp profiles and have started promoting these traditional painting on social media now,” he said.

He explains that the TEDP initiative would help create awareness about the age old traditions and culture among the next generation as well. “I believe that I received the award due to the popularity it garnered on the social media. It would motivate artisans like me to do a better job and also attract the new generation towards it,” he added.

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