My dear countrymen, I am fortunate to have got an opportunity once again to greet citizens from Kutch to Kohima, Kashmir to Kanyakumari; in fact, across the length & breadth of the country. Namaskar to all of you. Reflecting on the expanse & diversity of our land, revering them fills each & every Indian with a sense of pride. And an opportunity to experience this varied diversity is one that touches the heart, filling it up with joy; it is a flower that radiates inspiration. A few days ago, at a small place at the Hunar Haat in Delhi, I witnessed hues of our country’s diverse expanse, cultures, traditions, cuisines & the warmth of emotions. As a matter of fact the repertoire comprising traditional attires, handicrafts, carpets, utensils, Bamboo & brass products, Phulkari of Punjab, exotic leatherwork of Andhra Pradesh, beautiful paintings from Tamil Nadu, brass products of Uttar Pradesh, Bhadohi carpets, copper work of Kutch, a number of musical instruments & innumerable stories; the vivid mosaic of pan- Indian art & culture was truly unique. The stories of the artisans’ perseverance, zeal & love for their skill are equally inspiring as well. Listening to a divyang woman at the Hunar Haat was a source of fulfilment. She told me that earlier she used to sell paintings on the pavement. Her life changed after she connected with Hunar Haat.
Today, she is not only self- reliant; she has purchased a house too. At Hunar Haat, I got the opportunity to converse with many other artisans. I am told that over 50 per cent of the crafts persons participating at Hunar Haat are women. Also, during the last three years, through Hunar Haat, close to three lakh artisans & crafts persons have gained many opportunities of employment. Hunar Haat, of course, is a platform showcasing art & craft; it is also lending wings to people’s dreams. It is a venue where it is impossible to overlook the country’s diversity. Besides handicrafts, it displays the diversity of India’s varied cuisine too. In a single row, one could savour the sight of Idli- Dosa, Chhole- Bhature, Daal- Baati, Khaman- Khandvi & what not! I thoroughly enjoyed having the delicious Litti- Chokha of Bihar. All over India, fairs & exhibitions such as this are organized from time to time. Whenever the opportunity arises, one should attend such events to know India, to experience India. Thus, not only would you be able to be a part of the country’s art-culture canvas; you will also contribute in the progress & prosperity of hardworking crafts persons, especially women. Do make it a point to visit.