PM Modi’s gifts to Kamala Harris and Australian PM bring world attention to Varanasi


Prime Minister Modi’s gifts, made of the famous pink enamel from Varanasi, to US Vice President Kamala Harris and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have drawn the world’s attention to his constituency.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday. (Photo: PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the world’s attention to his parliamentary constituency by gifting US Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday a pink enamel chess set known as “gulabi meena” from Varanasi. Prime Minister Modi also presented a souvenir of the same material, a ship, to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The gifts were made by Kunjbihari, a resident of the Gaighat region in Varanasi, who had earlier received the President’s Award for his profession.

Kunjbihari told India Today he was informed on September 19 of Prime Minister Modi’s plan to take the chess set and ship it to the United States. He had gone to Delhi Central Cottage Industries to deliver all the gifts. He later learned that the keepsakes he made were given to the US Vice President and the Australian Prime Minister. PM Modi had also taken a Kunjbihari Vrikshasan which was given to a VIP in the United States.

The pink enamel chess set. (Photo: India Today / Roshan Jaiswal)

Kunjbihari explained that crafting with pink enamel is very difficult work. It is done only on silver and gold and the color is based on metal oxide. The pink color is prepared by mixing sandalwood oil with gold. This art came to India during the Mughal period.

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In Varanasi, it became known as “meenakari”, as the artisans there mastered the know-how over time. Kunjbihari said he learned the art from his mother and maternal grandmother.

Pink enamel items were offered to PM Modi three times in Kashi.

Photo: India Today / Roshan Jaiswal.

Kunjbihari said that due to the increase in the price of silver, pink enamel work almost stopped 10 years ago. However, the artisans continued their struggle to keep the art alive.

“Then the brand came about because of GI. But because of Covid, it was about to end completely. But now, thanks to PM Modi Ji, this art has received international recognition. After this incident, in one day, I had the order for a whole year, ”he said.

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