Brahmaputra Fables – Empowering Rural Artisans
Assam is a land of beauty and diversity, the composite culture born out of the convergence of various traditions. The culture of Assam is a fusion of Indo Burmese, Mongolian and Aryan influences, and its culture is an amalgamation of numerous customs, rituals, faith, lifestyle and traditions. The alluring land is a little paradise on a rocky terrain and worth to be discovered for its pristine beauty.
It’s been more than two thousand years that numerous traditional crafts have emerged in Assam. The cultural crafts like pottery and terracotta fabrication, brass craft, jewellery making, musical instruments making, cane and bamboo craft, silk and cotton weaving, and Woodcraft are a major source of employment for the people of Assam.
The ancient Assamese painters are known since the time of Chinese traveler Xuanzang. Most of the manuscripts from the medieval period have magnificent illustration of traditional paintings. People were highly influenced by the notion and designs in the medieval works done by the extremely talented artisans. There is a sense of peace in the intricately designed miniature art as it enhances and adorns the beauty of all shades.
Weaving is the most primeval custom where even today women take pride in the possession and occupation in the handloom industry. In the ancient times Assamese weavers were lauded as artists who could weave dreams in their looms. Numerous ethno cultural groups make exclusive types of cotton costumes with embroidery designs and colour combinations.
Dhruba Jyoti Deka ideated Brahmaputra Fables to enable and encourage skilled artisans to sell directly to Indian and global consumers and eliminate middleman and thus increase the income for artisans.
Dreams to Reality
Dhruba Jyoti was pursuing his Master of Science in Chemistry from Pondicherry University when he got the idea of starting his own brand the Brahmaputra Fables. He always wanted to be connected to his own state and reviving the Northeast tradition. This inspired him to name his business as “Brahmaputra Fables” with a purpose to commercialize the authentic, indigenous products manufactured by the state’s artisans. Distant from home, he comprehended that there is an inquisitive fascination for Assam’s culture and tradition outside the state. Assam’s beauty is like the rest of the Seven Sisters which is unique but neglected. All these years the absence of a medium kept people isolated from the handicrafts made in Assam.
He realized that the textiles and fabrics from the Northeast pre-eminent amongst all the other diverse costumes belonging to different states in India. As it is said; Assamese women weave fairy tales in their costumes.
In addition to the elegant weaves and intricate embroidery, the captivating and lesser known fact to most people across the globe, is that every tribe from each Northeast state has a textile legacy that has been handed down through generations and no weaving pattern of one tribe is similar to the other.
Tough market to crack
Brahmaputra Fables had opened doors to numerous talented artisans and with marketing campaign on Facebook. Dhurba started it from the scratch and the main challenge that he faced was of gaining customer trust and establishing credibility. But within a span of two years 3,000 artisans came along to make it a larger business.
The Initial Obstacles
With a talented group of energetic and enterprising but in the absence of a youth, the entrepreneurial scenario in Assam is changing tremendously, proper startup ecosystem, it becomes very tough for the region’s entrepreneurs to gain traction in the initial years. Brahmaputra Fables too has been through such phases. Early customer acquisition was one of the biggest challenges, besides, the logistics.
Dhruba Jyoti, however, with a firm resolve waded through the troubled waters carrying the baton of Brahmaputra Fables on his young shoulders. He acquired his very first customers by word-of-mouth publicity and to avoid reeling under logistics cost, he started delivering at customer’s doorstep.
The Blooming Artisans
Brahmaputra Fables has rigid and unapologetically quality when it comes to product and customer service. The organization constantly strives to develop these aspects among the artisans. Dhruba Jyoti often travels across the state to ensure that there is no compromise on the quality of products that are being delivered through his platform. As he believes, any social impact initiative to sustain impact, it must have strong business fundamentals and be profitable as a business. He wants Northeast to be a power source for the rest of India. He is an ardent admirer of the legendary icon Elon Musk and is his source of inspiration
The Future he visualizes:
Northeast India is a melting pot of tribal handicraft and artisan-centric industry, he visualizes Assam can be the hub of attire and tourism industry for the global audience. He aims of making Brahmaputra Fables the go-to place for traditional crafts across India, as he believes that he is exploring more and more traditions each day, and hence is able to create sustainable social impact via technology.