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Bonsai art can be used to generate income for farmers’ wives

 An avid gardener and bonsai artist Prajakta Kale has approached the state government to include bonsai art as a skill development course

pune Updated: Feb 07, 2018 14:57 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Bonsai artist Prajakta Kale says rural women can benefit by producing pre-bonsai materials.(HT PHOTO)

Pune:For city-based bonsai artist Prajakta Kale, gardening and plantation have always found a special place in her heart. For 35 years now, Kale has been pursuing her hobby and tends to over 3,000 bonsai plants in a farm at Bibedohol, Maval. Her association with the art began in the 80s and she travelled to several countries to understand the art. During one such visit, she and her friends were ridiculed by fellow artists.

“It was heart-wrenching when they said that women are not capable of pursuing the art. We took it up as a challenge and since 2009 we have been planning this convention and exhibition. Bonsai Namaste is a four-day event of demonstrations, workshops and display of bonsai art,” said Kale. International artists and renowned speakers will be present at the event.

Kale said that rural women can also benefit from this skill by producing pre-bonsai material. “Today China exports 1 lakh pre-bonsai material to the UK and US markets. If farmers’ wives start working on the pre-bonsai material of 15 species of Indian bonsai, we could export it too.”

One thousand bonsai plants will be displayed at the exhibition, out of which 140 varieties belong to the Ficus species. “For our Pune weather, the Ficus variety suits the best. These are heavy roots plants that belong to the banyan tree species. Bonsai art is a de-stressing activity. It is a hobby or activity that needs time, requires patience and something you can’t achieve in a day.”

Kale and her husband Giridhar have also approached the Government of Maharashtra to include bonsai art as a skill development course. She said, “With just a few techniques anyone can maintain a bonsai. Watering it daily is a must, and trimming and cutting it to shape it is also necessary. However, it does not need daily maintenance and hence it is a good thing to pursue.”

Linking bonsai to age-old ayurveda techniques, Giridhar said, “Bonsai art initially originated in India when our rushi-munis (sages) used fresh herbs and plants to cure diseases. And, when they couldn’t reach the patient, they would send the herbs or plants in pots. This was further taken to places like Japan and Taiwan. We kind of neglected it in India and it is high time we promoted it on a large scale again.”

Don’t Miss

What: Bonsai Namaste, an exhibition and international convention

Where: Agriculture College Ground, Sinchannagar

When: February 22-25, 9am-10pm

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 14:56 IST