Namma Angadi: A Legacy

One of the most important things for cultural development in such a diversified country like India would be the social interactions between the localities of a region and the migrants, students (from a different region), and travelers. And to reduce the barrier for this purpose, the Manipal Institute of Communication presented to world, Namma Angadi. A platform where the localities of Karnataka can portray their craftsmanship and interact with a very diversified audience. 

What is Namma Angadi?

Set up in 1992, Namma Angadi is an exhibition held at the Manipal   Institute of Communication. With the aim to create a platform for young village craftsmen of local origin to portray their skills and talent for the audience to witness and appreciate. This event led to a large number of migrant children moving to urban areas in search of jobs and livelihood. 

The aim of this event would be to create a varied experience for the public and help create an interactive atmosphere between the students and the localities. 

The reporting team of ManipalBlog got the chance to interact with Mr. Shivanand Shetty, the man behind it all, the assistant director of Namma Angadi. It was a very fun interaction filled with information ranging from his inspiration for Namma Bhoomi to the future plans for the working class of children in the textile industry. He even specifically mentioned his plans for the expansion of his organization, Namma Bhoomi, and the goals oriented to it

Photo by: Swaroop Diddi

What was the inspiration behind  Namma Angadi?

According to Mr. Shetty, the main inspiration behind establishing Namma Angadi was to provide exposure and recognition to the underprivileged, especially working children i.e child labourers, but at the same time cultivating young artists to preserve traditional art in a fast-paced world. Children belonging to these communities were often found working in unusual jobs which affected them mentally and physically. Namma Bhoomi was an educational platform established to enable livelihoods to such children.

When did Namma Bhoomi start?

Namma Bhoomi was an NGO started by the Trade Union Bank of India in 1993, at that time research conducted by the organization showed that 95% of “working-class children” were not interested in receiving formal education. Mr. Shivanand also emphasized a lot the inability of such children to voice their opinions publicly. Namma Bhoomi provided practical education through a central-government recognized board NIOS. This allowed proper recognition of these children. 

Photo by: Swaroop Diddi

Who are the “Working Children”?

Mr. Shetty categorized children aged 14-15 who were forced to quit education and pick up jobs to survive as “Working Children”. When asked about his plan to promote such children, he stressed the importance of skill development among children. Most of these children belong to families that previously boasted of artisans, potters, carpenters, etc. Namma Bhoomi’s primary focus was to provide a market and a formal education to promote their inherited natural skills. Namma Bhoomi focuses on the economical empowerment of underprivileged children.

How is Namma Bhoomi associated with Namma Nalanda Vidyapeetham (NNV)?

NNV is an educational platform started by Namma Bhoomi which provided students with proper technical education and focused more on education rather than experiential learning. It allows students to pursue a bachelor’s degree through a well-recognized university. 

Photo by: Swaroop Diddi

How does Namma Bhoomi cope with this modern-paced world?

Namma Bhoomi provides a market through Namma Angadi in Manipal where varieties of prints, textiles, etc., manufactured by children are sold. These prints have always been up to change and customers can always witness a blend of technology and traditional art at Namma Angadi. Students at Namma Bhoomi are also exposed to advanced technology in the field of their choice while pursuing their education.

Why Manipal?

As Namma Bhoomi was first based out of Bangalore, research showed that 96% of children had migrated from parts of Bangalore and Manipal to cities in search of jobs. To prevent such disarray Namma Bhoomi subsequently set up Namma Angadi in Manipal.

How does it feel after being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? 

A sweet smile showed up on Mr. Shetty’s face when asked. With immense pride, he said that being nominated for a Nobel peace prize is a huge matter of prestige and the organization was evidently happy but at the same time he was satisfied that Namma Bhoomi had reached where it wanted to and now children could be recognized at the highest level possible.

Photo by: Swaroop Diddi

And there it was, an amazing experience that taught the entire team about the uniqueness of craftsmanship and the persistent perseverance of such young children to keep learning in an evergreen career option. The event really does justice in giving these children a platform to apply their skills and improve their worldly experience.


About the Authors: Aarav AR and Piyush Nahar are first-year students from Manipal Institute of Technology, MAHE, who have jointly taken the interview and written the article.

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