Each state of India nurtures various arts and practices which eventually constitute to be the identity of the state. To enhance these arts and practices at a global level and to channel their output economically as well, some of these are endowed with GI tags by the Indian government. Every year several items of unique characteristics are given the GI tags.
A GI tag or a Geographical Indicator is a sign used to mark artificial as well as natural products and items which have any special geographical origin. Besides, these products which are to be designated with a tag should also carry some special qualities due to their geographical origin, which would make them stand out. The first Indian product to be titled with a GI tag was the Darjeeling Tea in the year 2003. There are several benefits of providing GI tags to products, most important among these is the rural development that it instigates. This year until now, eight products have been given GI tags. Let us give these items a quick review.
India is home to world's most expensive spice 'Saffron' which is grown abundantly in the Kashmir Valley. The spice is also referred to as Mongra, Lachha and Guchhi in the region. Cultivating saffron is to be done with utmost care as the spice is collected from the core of the saffron crocus flower. As this work demands careful cultivation and needs human efforts, it is sold at higher prices in the market. The spice originally belongs to the valley region which later was taken to other parts of the world through foreign traders. The original Kashmiri saffron is marked for its longer and thicker stem, deep-red colour, slightly bitter flavour and strong aroma.
Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai
Kovilpatti Kadalai is a candy made of peanuts held together with glistening syrup, and topped with wisps of grated coconut. The sweat is made using all natural ingredients such as the traditional and special ‘vellam’ (jaggery) and groundnuts and most importantly the water from the river Thamirabarani is used in it's production. It is manufactured in Kovilpatti and adjacent towns and villages in Thoothukudi districts of Tamil Nadu. It is produced by using both groundnuts and jaggery, from specific locations in Tamil Nadu.
Thanjavur Pith Works and Arumbavur Wood
Arumbavur Wood Carving is done at Arumbavur and around Perambalur districts of Tamilnadu. The wood carvings are made out of wooden logs of Indian siris, mango, lingam tree, Indian ash tree, rosewood and neem tree. The designs that are carved on the wood are inspired by the temple architecture observed in the same region. Arumbavur Wood Carvings are done on a single piece of wood.
After 7 years, the artisans of Tamil Nadu were finally granted the GI tag in 2020 by the GI registry. The artisans of Tamil Nadu are skilled in this particular craft and the art is traditionally transferred to them from their forefathers. The Thanjavur Netti Works are fragile and therefore are kept in a glass box. The Thanjavur Netti Works include-- models of the Brihadeeshwara Temple, Hindu idols, garlands, door hangings, etc.
The terracotta work of Gorakhpur is a centuries-old traditional art form, where the potters make various animal figures like, horses, elephants, camel, goat, ox, etc. with hand-applied ornamentation. The entire work is done with bare hands and artisans use natural colours, which stay for a long time. Some of the major products of craftsmanship include the Hauda elephants, Mahawatdar horse, deer, camel, five-faced Ganesha, singled-faced Ganesha, elephant table, chandeliers, hanging bells etc. There are more than 1,000 varieties of terracotta work designed by the local craftsmen.
Manipur's Chak- Hao
Chak Hao is a black rice variety cultivated in Manipur. It has been in use for centuries and is cultivated by traditional methods. It is an aromatic rice variety and is glutinous in nature and dark colored. It is reported to have medicinal value and is hence used in traditional medicine. The rice requires long cooking time of 40 to 45 minutes. This is because of the high crude fibre content and the presence of bran layer. After being cooked well, the rice turns purple in color.
Telangana's Telia Rumal
Telangana's Telia Rumal cloth involves intricate handmade work with cotton loom displaying a variety of designs dominantly in three colours — red, black and white. It is an art of Ikat tradition using natural vegetable dyes, which is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles. The elia Rumal can only be created using the traditional handloom process and not by any other mechanical means as otherwise, the very quality of the Rumal would be lost, which is why it has been endowed with the tag.
Jharkhand's Sohrai Khovar
Sohrai Khovar is a tribal art of painting observed in Jharkhand. The painting is a traditional and ritualistic mural art. A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall or other permanent surfaces. The painting is observed on the walls of important public places in Jharkhand, such as the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi. The art is being practised by local tribal women during the time of local harvest and marriage seasons using local, naturally available soils of different colours in the area of Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand. The painting style features a profusion of lines, dots, animal figures and plants, often representing religious iconography.
- Himali Nalawade