The best of South Asian traditions and skills came alive on the lawns of the Capital&’s Hotel Ashok in an initiative, Sasian (South Asian) Journey, that brought together craft practitioners, designers and artists of the nine South Asian countries. Organised by the Asian Heritage Foundation (AHF), in partnership with Self Employed Women&’s Association (SEWA) and the Smithsonian Institution, the four-day event offered a trans-disciplinary programme to provide a launchpad for sustainable, cross cultural collaborations of South Asians across the globe.

Artistes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mayanmar, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal set up stalls at the Lotus Bazaar to exhibit articles ranging from traditional garments to home décor items and food. Visitors were treated to a cultural extravaganza as they interacted with the artisans. A food festival called Sanjha Chulha was curated by food critic and scholar Pushpesh Pant.

Inaugurated by Mahesh Sharma, Minister of state for culture, tourism and aviation, on 28 March, the Delhi chapter of the Sasian Journey worked towards increased employment and accelerated growth and also enhance regional integration and cooperation among the nine South Asian neighbours. The main objective of the initiative was to bring together various stakeholders, government bodies, civil society institutions, NGOs and experts from South Asia to strengthen values, develop innovative products and bring creative, human and social capital together to generate economic capital.

The four day long festival saw various eminent personalities from across the sub-continent coming together to deliberate on several issues relevant to the promotion of legacy enterprises. The consultations saw well-known people like Ela Bhatt, Richard Kurin, Hameed Haroon, William Dalrymple and Ritu Kumar coming together over discussions.

The aim of the festival was to reverse de-skilling of artisans and strengthen the rich traditions of South Asia and to provide the traditional artisans with dignified options to earn their livelihood.

The Lotus Bazaar was a flagship market development package created for deserving artists, artisans, cooperatives and cultural enterprises through designled interventions. There were more than 50 stalls of different countries in the bazaar, showcasing their culture and heritage through the medium of handicrafts and textiles.

The Sanjha Chulha, the first food festival of South Asia&’s culinary traditions, aimed to promote local and regional cuisines of the South Asian countries. The fete also showcased musical performances by various groups from across the Indian sub-continent such as Bauls, Madan Gopal Singh and Ali Sethi.