The gifts Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented to US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump included a wooden chest with intricate inlay pattern which brought laurels to Punjab’s Hoshiarpur. Modi, who met Trump last Monday for the first time after the latter took office earlier this year, presented a range of gifts, including a handcrafted Himachali silver bracelet, tea and honey from Kangra Valley, hand-woven shawls from Jammu and Kashmir and the wooden chest. The sheesham wood intricate inlay chest was designed by Ashok Jain, Chairman of the Cottage Industries Corporation (CIC) in Hoshiarpur and crafted by 61-year-old artisan Shami Lal.
Talking to PTI here today Madhu Sudan, director of CIC, claimed that he had supplied the wooden inlay chest, which was presented by Modi to Trump, to the Union Ministry of Textiles on May 15. He said Shami Lal has been crafting sheesham wood inlay items for the last 38 years which are being presented to international guests.
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Sudan said he felt proud that Modi gifted the wooden chest to the US President, adding CIC had also designed and crafted inlay elephant souvenirs which were presented to guests in the 1982 Asian games. “That souvenir was appreciated by Rajiv Gandhi,” Sudan claimed.
On difficulties in the trade, he said prices of inlay raw materials were increasing day by day and availability of sheesham wood had become low. Also the number of artisans trained in this trade is decreasing. The higher rate of tax in proposed GST would further hamper the trade. The government should come forward to save this dying traditional craft, Sudan said.