We first thought of this idea back in 2018. The idea of bringing in an exchange of culture, communities and ideas. In any other scenario, these two groups are unlikely to meet.
Located in Dausa; about 300 kms from Rohtak, lies a leather craft cluster that is skilled in making leather shoes and bags. We also happened to know a group of bikers in Rohtak who were looking for a winter ride with a fun twist. We hoped to bring them together to bring out colors of community, culture and design interwoven into an exclusive experience.
We started from Delhi at 6am on 2 Feb’19 and joined our team at Rohtak. After introductions and exchanging some excitement, we commenced our journey. After quite a bit of navigating and avoiding the other Bishanpuras’ (two more if you can believe it), we reached our destination at 8 pm. We had a few breaks in the middle and ensured that there were obviously several Instagram worthy shots in the middle of canopies and mustard farms.
Our accommodation was a sasta and tikaav – Pinky Hotel and surprisingly enjoyed the desi Chinese and other food on the menu. We met our host Keshavji (the leather craftsman and farmer), and discussed the following day with him. The next day after breakfast, we took our four bikes and two cars. The entire village was very warm and over chai and chaas, we had conversations about our (and their) favorite movie stars and education in the area. The villagers said that there weren’t many who were interested in the leather craft business or were interested in picking it up. Some were into agriculture and some fathers were out of station for work. Bishanpura, at present, is facing acute shortage of water and electricity was present only at night.
We discussed the craft of leather making with Keshavji, his wife Anitaji and the rest of the family. We toured the village and went to Susheela kaki’s house to see everyone working together in the sun with a handful of other artisans working on designs for bags and ‘mojris’(Rajasthani shoes). Seeing this sight was quite something. From different embroidery styles and leather stitching techniques to discussing their process and willingness to adapt to the contemporary ways was refreshing. From what clicks with a contemporary potential customers, a little awareness session by our group and assistance on amazon’s feature for artisans. Some of us were potential customers and picked up a few bags made by the artisans in the village.