Dozens of folk singers, weavers, craftsmen and confectioners in central India’s development-starved Bundelkhand region have joined an e-commerce platform to promote their skills and products, underscoring how online trade is transforming lives in rural areas with rickety roads and patchy infrastructure.
Local sweets such as “Chironji ki barfi” and “Orchha’s kalakand” as well as “Chanderi saris” that are popular across the country are available on the website launched this week.
“Many people like the barfi and demand delivery. But in the absence of any arrangements to send it outside, we couldn’t make it popular,” said sweets manufacturer Jamna Mithiya. “I am happy that this website will promote us.”
The area has not seen much development despite several government announcements, said Sachin Chaudhary, one of the organisers of the Brand Bundelkhand project. “So, people have taken it upon themselves to do something for their progress.”
The hilly region straddling the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is prone to droughts but is known for its local artistry and architectural monuments including the Khajuraho temples that are famous for their erotic sculptures.
“In Bundelkhand, artists have immense talent but they hardly get a chance to market themselves,” said writer Safia Khan. “This is a very good platform for people to showcase their talent and for others to invite them to perform outside the region.”
Apart from Khajuraho and Orchha, many other parts of Bundelkhand can be turned into tourist spots and the website is also promoting such unexplored areas, said painter Rajkumar Katoliya.
“Bundelkhand has been being portrayed as a place racked with poverty because of perennial drought, but nobody popularises the rich culture and heritage of the area,” he said.