“Enterprising” Culture: How A Rural Homestay Model Makes Great Business Sense

culture aangan pinguli art village
Pinguli Art Village - enterprising culture. Image by Culture Aangan
Taking off from my last post, here is a feature on a social enterprise with a difference. Established in 2005, Culture Aangan is an organisation dedicated to the preservation of art and culture, traditional customs and lifestyles of India through various developmental projects in sectors such as tourism, revival of local art and folk culture and women’s empowerment and education.

The business opportunity

The venture was launched with the objective of creating tourism infrastructure in Sindhudurg, while giving precedence to economic benefits and independence for the local people, in a scheme of things designed in such a way that they can retain their land and earn a livelihood through their homes and services offered in the native villages.

Other initiatives

Having launched its home stay project very successfully, Culture Aangan then turned its attention to the revival of folk art and culture. May 2006, marked the formal opening of the Thakar Adivasi Kala Aangan, an art arena, created by Culture Aangan at Pinguli in Sindhudurg. The arena is an attempt to revive and preserve a dying folk art tradition and creation of a platform where traditional artists to pursue their age old craft. In April 2007, another project under the name of Hirkani, to prepare, pack and market food stuff under the brand name “Hirakani” made by women’s self-help groups across Sindhudurg. This project is now run and managed by the Konkan Gram Vikas Mahamandal (KGVM), a non-profit apex organization established to promote economic development in Konkan.

Fostering art and culture

Though its initial foray in to Sindhudurg was to promote rural toursim in its purest form, through its subsequent ventures Culture Aangan is promoting art forms like:

  • Chitragathi: an audio-visual medium in which an artist holds a handmade painting depicting scenes from epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Vivid narratives, dialogues, drama, musical instruments and enthusiastic performers add to the magic of the performance.
  • Zaiti or Kal Sutli: A traditional form of string puppetry from Rajasthan wherein the inter play of dextrous fingers of puppettteers brings to life wooden and cloth puppet dolls to unfold a story set in times of kings and queens.
  • Shadow Puppetry with leather puppets: A highly skilled art form which originates from the Adivasi community in Pinguli which leaves audiences enthralled by tales peppered with action, drama, emtion and war.
  • Pangul Bael: A performance where man and beast (decorated bullocks) come together against the backdrop of beating of the “dhol,” traditional drum.

On the anvil

Launch of artists-in-residence and writers-in-residence and plans to encourage young children from neighboring towns and villages to partake of this rich dying cultural heritage and learn the art through various rural based outreach programs.

The idea behind citing this case is to point out the key features of a social enterprise which are:

  1. Finding a worthy cause
  2. Strategic partnerships
  3. Forging a win-win relationship with all concerned
  4. Branding
  5. Positioning

Having said that, in my next post I will build up on these key features to help budding social entrepreneurs find their niche.