Transforming labourers into entrepreneurs
For-Profit • Social Enterprise • B2C
STARTED IN 2019
By Enactus SRCC & Kirti Goel
Jandiala Guru (Amritsar, Punjab), Madhya Pradesh, Haryana
(hammering brass & copper into utensils)
Home Decor & Kitchenware
DID YOU KNOW?
Only Indian craft to make it to the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014.
When the Sikh Empire was at its peak, Maharaja Ranjit Singh established Jandiala Guru — a small village, about 20km from Amritsar — as a crafts hub, by bringing in the best artisans from across the country.
What differentiates the Thathiar craft from others making copper, brass, and kansa utensils is the ‘thak thak’ sound that comes from the hammering of the vessels. The dotted designs on the vessels are unique to the thathera craft.
ठ से ठठेरा कब सुना था आख़िरी बार?
A part of the village’s legacy, the Thatheras, who once thrived in a post-partition era, have now dwindled in numbers.
Long before COVID-19 and the lockdown, the artisans saw their earnings collapse, which further reduced the number of families involved in the occupation from 500 to 30.
Enactus SRCC, a student-led non-profit, started P-TAL to help the artisans find their way back to their traditional craft by unifying and organising them into an institutional society, enabling them to realise greater profits and higher incomes.
There were many deep-rooted inefficiencies that contributed to the near extinction of the craft form.
Internal competition among the different groups of Thatheras
Lack of access to markets owing to corrupt middlemen
Inability to keep up with changing consumer tastes
Competition from steel and machine -made products
Unification of Thatheras through formation of SHG and legalising their identities as artisans and entrepreneurs.
Product innovation marrying traditional technique with modern designs.
Integration with suppliers to ensure quality raw materials.
Employing a supervisor to ensure standardisation in processes and product quality.
Establishing market linkages through 12 retail outlets, 15 craft exhibitions, a website, and 18 e-commerce platforms.
Revival of a craft form, aiding the preservation of intangible cultural heritage
Institutionalising combined with higher incomes has led to social upliftment of the Thathera community
Improved working conditions inclusive of safety gear, hearing aids, and industrial muffs
128 trees planted under ‘Plant a Virasat’ campaign
P-TAL's sustainable packaging reduces dependency on plastic
60% of the profits from sales go to the Thatheras. 40% is reinvested into P-TAL.
Mandeep Kumar, 28, is the youngest in the community of Thatheras. He was working as a textile salesman but seeing his father dedicate his life to his craft, he started to gravitate towards it as well. Mandeep has now joined P-TAL full time as an artisan. He hopes his children will also join the craft in the future because there is now better potential for earnings, thanks to P-TAL’s model.
“We always receive the full amount; P-TAL has never given us less money than the amount due to us. We have made a lot of profit from this work. If this continues for the next 5 - 10 years, we will train our children in the craft and introduce them to this business. Every night I pray that every Thathera continues to get work from P-TAL and their households and families continue to benefit and prosper.”
— MANDEEP KUMAR, ARTISAN