PM Modi’s gifts to leaders from Nordic countries reflect India’s diversity, rich traditions

COPENHAGEN, May 4: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who concluded his visit to Denmark on Wednesday, presented gifts to leaders of the Nordic countries that reflected India’s rich cultural diversity, its deep links with the mother nature, its martial traditions, age-old handicrafts and exquisite work of artisans.

The Prime Minister embarked on a three-day visit to European countries on May 2. He visited Germany and Denmark and is scheduled to have a stopover in Paris. The gifts to the dignitaries from different Indian states included a Silver Meenakari Bird figure from Banaras to Crown Princess Mary, a Dokra boat from Chattisgarh to Crown Prince Fredrik and a Rogan painting from Gujarat to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. The Prime Minister had bilateral meetings with his counterparts from of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Norway in Copenhagen and also took part in the second India-Nordic Summit on Wednesday.

The art of silver enamelling practised in Benaras (Varanasi) is almost 500 years old. The art has its roots in the Persian art of Meenakari (Meena is the Persian word for glass). The most distinguishing element of Banaras meenakari is the use of pink colour in various shades on various products. The base is a silver sheet, which is fixed on a metallic base.

The sheet fixed on the base mould is beaten lightly to get a fitting form of the mould. The preliminary product is taken off in spliced form the mould and is deftly joined. On this, a design is worked on with a metallic pen. The ‘Meena’ is ground to a fine powder and mixed with pomegranate seeds in water. Thereafter, it is fixed on various parts of the product with a flat metallic tool called ‘qalam’. The finished product is decorated with semi-precious stones and pearls.

The Rogan painting, gifted by PM Modi to Queen Margrethe of Denmark, is an art of cloth printing practised in Kutch, Gujarat. In this craft, paint made from boiled oil & vegetable dyes is laid down on fabric using either a metal block (printing)or a stylus (painting).

The process of making Rogan’s painting is very laborious and skilful. Artists place a small amount of this paint paste into their palms. At room temperature, the paint is carefully twisted into motifs and images using a metal rod that never comes in contact with the fabric. Next, the artisan folds his designs into a blank fabric, thereby printing its mirror image.

The Dokra boat from Chhattisgarh, gifted to Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark, is non-ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting technique. This sort of metal casting has been used in India for over 4,000 years and is still used.

There are two main processes of lost wax casting: solid casting and hollow casting. The product of artisans who are mainly from Central and Eastern India are in great demand in domestic and foreign markets because of their primitive simplicity, enchanting folk motifs and forceful form.

The Brass Tree of Life from Rajasthan, which PM Modi gifted to his Finland counterpart Sanna Marin, symbolizes the development and growth of life. The branch of a tree grows and develops upwards and contains various life forms representing inclusiveness.

This hand-crafted wall decorative art piece depicting the ‘Tree of Life’ is made of brass and is an example of the excellent craftsmanship and rich tradition of India. The root of the tree represents the connection with the earth, leaves and birds represent life and the candle stand represents light. Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store was gifted a ‘Dhaal’ with Koftgiri art from Rajasthan by PM Modi.

Tarkashi (Koftgiri) on metal is a traditional art of Rajasthan in India as a means of decorating Arms and Armour. Today it has been diverted to the decoration of objects such as picture frames, boxes, walking sticks and decorative swords, daggers and war accessories like shields. Koftgiri is the inlay work with silver and gold wires.

Koftgiri craft is intended to enrich the surface of the metal of which the article is made. The base metal is a mixture of three types of Iron (soft, hard and high). The layers of these three types of iron are hammered till they are completely mixed, and one base metal is made then blades in different shapes are made out of it and this blade is dipped into a solution of three herbs which brings out the design engraved on the blade. Finally, the blade is rubbed and polished with very fine paper.

His Denmark counterpart, Mette Frederiksen, a wall hanging with Kutch embroidery.The Kutch Embroidery is a handicraft and textile signature art tradition of the tribal community of Kutch District in Gujarat, India. This embroidery with its rich designs has made a notable contribution to the Indian embroidery traditions.

The embroidery, practiced normally by women is generally done on cotton fabric, in the form of a net using silk or cotton threads of myriad hues. Certain patterns are also crafted over silk and satin. The types of stitches adopted are “square chain, double buttonhole, pattern darning, running stitch, satin and straight stitches”. The signature effect of the colourful embroidery sparkles when small mirrors called ‘abhla’ are sewn over the geometrically shaped designs.

PM Modi gifted Pashmina stole in a Papier Mache box from Jammu and Kashmir to his Sweden counterpart Magdalena Andersson. A symbol of luxury and elegance, Kashmiri Pashmina Stoles have been treasured for their rare material, exquisite craftsmanship and reminiscent designs since time immemorial. The warmth and softness that these stoles offer are simply beyond comparison. Pashmina is an exclusive art of the Union Territory of Kashmir which is known for producing one of the finest Pashmina stoles. The wool used for making Pashmina stoles comes from a special breed of Kashmiri goat found in the high altitude regions of the Himalayas. A good Pashmina stole requires an expert hand for spinning, weaving and creating embroidery. The art of weaving Pashmina and hand-embroidery on Pashminas has been passed on as a legacy from generation to generation in the Indian Union Territory of Kashmir.

The Pashmina stole is packed in a Kashmir Papier Mache box which is handcrafted and coloured. The piece is hand-painted in a floral design depicting the flora and fauna of the Kashmir valley. The design used in this piece is an intricate pattern drawn with a fine thin brush. Water-based colours and natural pigments have been used in this piece. Pure gold foil and paint have been used in the design which imparts a royal look to the piece. Finally, the piece is coated with lacquer which protects it from water and gives extra durability.
The Prime Minister embarked on a three-day visit to European countries on May 2. He visited Germany, and Denmark and is scheduled to have a stopover in Paris.

(ANI)