In a booklet entitled The Craftsmanship of Manipur published by the society,
introductory passage thus reads --- "Nestled in a valley among the hills of the eastern
Himalayas,for above the sea level with nature's pristine glory, Manipur's mythological
concepts of creation is revealed in her famous folk dances and crafts. Handlooms and
handicrafts is a heritage of Manipur, almost every household owns a loom
---- womenfolk alone being the weavers. The handloom industry is the largest
cottage industry in the State. The handicrafts sector also enjoys a very special place in
Manipuri society. Manipuri pottery craft is world famous as it is crafted without any potter's
wheel. The beautiful pieces of cane and bamboo furniture, Manipuri dolls, etc. give an
aesthetic feeling to the products of Manipur."
In a state where corruption is rampant at all levels, the efforts taken
Society for the development of local industry is commendable. Unlike hundreds of other
NGOs, which are one-man profit-making units, the CSM is managed by a collective people's
leadership who are committed to the cause of promotion of crafts in the State. As Kamesh
Salam, chief functionary of the society puts it, "we believe in collective efforts." Mr. Salam is the
only non-official member of the All India Handicrafts Board,Ministry of Textile from the whole
The society aimed at the promotion of Manipuri crafts with a social aspect.
primary objectives of the society include:
1) Providing raw materials, marketing of finished products: The society
the craftspersons by providing raw materials at reasonable price and has direct interaction with
the customers about their products.
2) Developmental and promotional schemes for craftspersons: The Crafts
of Manipur has put in a lot of work in implementation of the developmental and promotional
schemes for craftspersons, like Craft Development Centre (CDC), Training Programme,
seminar, workshop, etc., and also exploring avenues for handicraft products worldwide.
3) Preservation and promotion of the rare exquisite crafts of Manipur:
some crafts in Manipur which may be losing their ground in commercial world and need
exclusive attention as they are symbolic in its originality. The society takes interest in
preservation and promotion of such Manipuri crafts.
4) Research and product development: The responsibilities of the CSM do
finish by providing raw materials, providing marketing facilities and implementation of certain
promotional schemes only. The society keeps on doing research and documentation of different
forms and aspects of the crafts and the methods and techniques of local craftsmanship.
5) Developmental programmes/schemes for unemployed youth and women: This
of the most important roles played by the society in Manipur by launching various
developmental programmes/schemes among the unemployed youth and women of the rural and
During a short span of its existence, the society has taken up various
for the development and preservation of crafts in the State. In order to give clear exposure to the
artisans and craftspersons from the whole North-Eastern region, the society has successfully
organised 'North East Crafts Festival' for consecutive three years at Dilli Haat in New Delhi.
"The feedback we got from the festivals is enormous," commented Kamesh
who is the brain behind in organising such festivals. Now, people from abroad placed orders for
our products, he said.
Mr. Salam, while talking to this correspondent has strongly advocated the
improvement of technology used in making of the various products. "We are still using the
technique that was used 50 years ago," he said. Modernisation of technology, couple with
availability of marketing for finished goods would certainly improve the condition of
craftsmanship in the region. Mr. Salam proudly declared that, "as soon as we are endorsed with
modern technology, no one can compete us." He goes on to explain that the North-East is
abundantly blessed by natural products like bamboo, wood, silk, muga, etc. are the asset
of the region.
Focussing his mission towards the next millennium, Mr. Salam said that
is going to bring out quarterly magazine called 'Crafts update" by February 1999. It is hoped that
the society would continue to play a model role even in the midst of insurgency and abysmally
low attention from the Government, which are due to be overcome.