The project connected urban designers with traditional craftsmen to bridge the gap between understanding of buyer needs and aesthetics. It is now a portal to document Rampur and a “daily digital posts portal” for smarter citizenship.
What is the project about?
The project intervention took shape with the setting up of the RohillaMohalla craft’s training centre in Rampur town, Uttar Pradesh ( between 2012 and 2015) to provide product design, management, working capital and market linkage support to master craft-artisans and entrepreneurs engaged in the traditional crafts of Rampur.
The project was named after the Rohilla Pathans from the Roh or mountain regions of Afghanistan who settled in the present Rampur district and its surroundings, defining its unique culture.
Under the RohillaMohalla Project, a detailed culture-nature study was undertaken of the district based on Patrick Geddes’s triad of “Work, Place and Folk”. This entailed the regional study of the population structure, education, livelihood and employment patterns, social and economic opportunities and challenges, rural-urban divide, topography, flora, fauna and climate.
More than three-quarters of the population was found to be engaged in the informal handicrafts sector, the traditional crafts being violin making, wooden furniture manufacture, paper kite production, zari-zardozi and appliqué embroidery.
Artisans were introduced to modern concepts of Social design – on how to enhance their artistic capabilities, improve their well- being and bring about social change through the design process.
Artisans were introduced to the concept of Ecological Design – design as a bridge between human needs, culture and ecology by inspiring artisans to think about their supply-chain and map local resources (people and material) with production.
Handcrafted products across the following themes were manufactured under the RohillaMohalla Project:
Piet Mondrian and De Stijl
Rampur – Awadh
The RohillaMohalla Project has undertaken Supply-Chain, Cluster Impact Studies across the state of U.P in the following craft clusters:
Glass Making (Firozabad), Wooden Furniture (Pilukhwa, Rampur and Sahranpur), Cane Furniture and Décor ( Bareilly and Rampur), Perfumes (Kannauj), Embroidery (Lucknow, Rampur, Varanasi), Kites – paper and threads (Bareilly and Rampur), Leather ( Lucknow), Stone-Marble Inlay (Agra).
Project Funded by
The project is funded by a private company – Indoeuropeans Pvt Ltd.
Micro-entrepreneurs & their craftsmen/women.
Micro-entities: Asif Mian Kite Makers, Iqbal Fashions Pvt Ltd, Mubashir International Fashions.
The computer-based design was supported by Ministry of Textile’s NCDPD (National Center for Design & Product Development).
What is the impact?
The learnings were product-specific and these were shared with relevant government and multilateral bodies for interventions and policy changes to better the business environment for the craftsmen and micro-entrepreneurs.
Presentations were done to District Handicrafts Office, NSDC (National Skills Development Corporation)/ Ministry of HRD, UP Khadi Gram Udyog, Foundation for MSMS clusters, U.P. State Government (Women Welfare) and ILFS.
Images by RohillaMohalla | © all rights reserved
RohillaMohalla was set up as a Crafts training centre at Do Mehla road, Rampur between 2012 and 2016.
Since 2017, the new project ( Prarang) which has created the Rampur portal & the “daily digital posts for smarter citizenship” model, operates from a dedicated research centre at Sector 62, Noida.
The research centre has its own collection of rare books on arts and craft history of India, Rampur city history and antiquarian maps, photos, picture postcards, lithographs and textiles, documenting the evolution of Rampur.