In an ongoing remarkable movement in the four districts of North Karnataka, activists of Gram Seva Sangh are walking 246 kilometers in 16 days demanding better price for handmade goods. The ‘Padayatra’ is led by theatre personality Prasanna.
He is also an acclaimed activist. The ‘yatra’ started from Kodekal in Yadgir district on January 30th. The activists will walk through Hampi and Hospet and end at Gollarahalli village in Bellary district on February 14.
What is the all ‘Padayatra’ about?
The activists of Gram Seva Sangh who are leading the ‘Padayatra’ aims to unify all the craftsmen and put up a demand to get better prices for their handmade goods. Prasanna who is leading the campaign said as quoted by The News Minute, “There are many aspects to this protest walk. One is to get a better price for handmade products, which is the larger issue we are concerned with. Another aspect is to give more respect to the people who make these products.
Former protest carried out in favor of handmade goods
Before the ‘Padayatra’ another movement called ‘Tax Denial Satyagraha’ was a hunger strike held last year in October. It was carried out against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on the handmade goods. The activists demanded that the GST on handmade goods should be reduced to zero. As a result, Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley declared that 29 handmade goods shall be tax free.
However, it is unclear as to what are those specific 29 handmade goods. Prasanna says as reported by The News Minute that GST did not consider handmade goods as a separate category but through the ‘Tax Denial Satyagraha’, Prasanna along with the fellow activists first determined the definition of handmade goods. The Gram Seva Sangh defined handmade products as any product that uses not less than two thirds of the hand process and not more than one third of the hand process.
How does ‘Padayatra’ strive to fulfil its objective?
After the ‘Tax Denial Satyagraha’, Prasanna carried out a couple of other hunger strikes and protest marches. However, the on going ‘padayatra’ aims to join the craftsmen along the route and unanimously demand better price for handmade goods and respect for the craftsmen. The News Minute also reports that through the ongoing protest march, Prasanna strives to ‘transmit the richness of social lives of handmade workers’.
The Logical Indian Take
The Logical Indian believes that handmade goods are not just cultural carrier of different groups but most importantly it remains one of the major source of income for the artisans and craftsmen who work to sustain a living for themselves and their families. Craftsmen and their handicrafts must be preserved by encouraging them with not just a fair compensation by also by having utmost reverence for their art.