Steering Committee

Mr. Bijan B. Paul

Former Director, Weavers Service Centre, South Zone

Mr Bijan B Paul served 40 years in Weavers Service Centre in various places and last held the position of Director - Weavers Service center (South Zone) . He has developed few hand looms infrastructure and colored shade card in natural dyes and Azo-free synthetic dyes. Hence, providing ease and innovations to the Artisans of India . He also held the position of Consultant with Development Commissioner for Handloom office . From last two years, Mr Paul provides his consultancy to Taneira (Unit of Titan Company Limited). Mr Paul has written many articles on Handlooms published in Indian textile journal.He was also presented a National Award in 1991 for his stupendous work in the field of Handloom.

Dr. Bosco Henriques


Dr. Bosco Henriques, with a doctorate in plant molecular biology, is the founder of BioDye India Pvt. Ltd., one of India’s foremost 100% natural dyeing units. BioDye’s vivid to pastel natural dyed yarns are colour fast and the hues span the entire spectrum. They are the result of Bosco’s continuous research and development spanning over a two decades. Besides offering sustainable and non-polluting dyeing, BioDye’s natural dyed fabric has other special properties such as UV-absorption, body odour suppression and mosquito-bite prevention.

Hema Shroff Patel

Founder, Amba

Hema Shroff Patel is a self-taught handicraft artist. Her passion for textiles led her to launch Amba in 1999. Amba creates a theme based collection of textiles and lounge wear each year. The Amba team is committed to understanding and preserving techniques of traditional Indian weaves, while pushing the boundaries to find a contemporary expression in handloom today. Their work is brought to life by a wonderful team of weavers and block printers in Central India. Amba has been a social enterprise for over ten years, committed to funding projects which sensitively refine and contemporize traditional weaving skills. Hema has been working in Maheshwar for over 30 years. She served on the WomenWeave Charitable advisory board for 17 years and worked with Rehwa Society to revive their classic Maheshwari saree designs. She continues to work on social welfare projects and recently organised an eye camp for the Maheshwar weaving community.

Ms. Judy Frater

Founder Director, Somaiya Kala Vidyalaya

Judy Frater is Somaiya Kala Vidya’s Founder Director. An Ashoka Fellow, Frater was Co-Founder of Kala Raksha and Founder and Director of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya. Under her eight- year tenure, Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya rose to international prominence for its unique approach to education of artisans. Frater was awarded the Sir Misha Black Medal for Design Education in 2009, and the Crafts Council of India Kamla Award in 2010 for her work. Frater hold two Masters Degrees, from University of Minnesota and University of Washington, and was a Fulbright Fellow. Prior to her residence in India, she was Associate Curator of The Textile Museum in Washington DC. In 1995, she published Threads of Identity: Embroidery and Adornment of the Nomadic Rabaris.

Prof. Jyotindra Jain

Curator and Cultural Historian

Prof. Jyotindra Jain is an Indian art and cultural historian and curator. A scholar on folk and ritual arts of India, he was the Director of the National Crafts Museum, New Delhi, Member Secretary and Professor (Cultural Archives), at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi, and also Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. His teaching and research encompass the entire breadth of folk and tribal art, Indian popular visual culture, ritual dynamics and cultural institutions of the 19th and 20th centuries. He has published a number of books on Indian folk art, including, Ganga Devi: Tradition and Expression in Mithila Painting, Other Masters: Five Contemporary Folk and Tribal Artists of India and Kalighat Painting: Images from a Changing World, and Indian Popular Culture: ‘The Conquest of the World as Picture’. He has been an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow; a Homi Bhabha Fellow; a Visiting Professor at the Centre for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University; Rudolf Arnheim-Visiting Professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and was awarded the Prince Claus Award for Culture in 1998.

S.N. Damodaren

Vice President, Nallis

An icon of South India, Nalli has become synonymous with silk and kanchipuram sarees. Nalli was established in the year 1928 and has been a leader in the textile and retail business for over 85 years. Nalli’s success story has a fairy tale ring to it. Started as a small retail store for silk sarees in Chennai by Nalli Chinnasami Chetti, the family-run shop did steady business for thirty years after which the grandson, Nalli Kuppuswami Chetty took over. Today, Nalli’s business focus has broadened, becoming not only a leading saree-retailer, but also one of the foremost manufacturers and exporters of fabrics, apparel and home furnishings. Nalli has also forayed into Jewellery and women’s ethnic wear sector. 2015 saw the brand launch of Etnische, targeted at the discerning 18-24-year-old women. With 90 years of considerable brand equity, international presence and sari-stores across India, Nalli is poised to scale even greater heights. An iconic heritage brand steeped in tradition, Nalli upholds the core values of Trust and Quality, converting generations of new sari-owners into loyal Nalli patrons.

Program Team

Abhijeet Kalita

Program Coordinator, Kamrup, Assam

Abhijeet Kalita is a Textile Engineer, graduated from Manik Lal Verma Textile and Engineering college, Bhilwara, Rajasthan. He is currently a Dye Trainer for the Antaran Program at Kamrup, Assam. Being native to Assam, Abhijeet is proud of the rich textile culture of the state and is extremely passionate about the work he does, satisfied about contributing to its revival. He is a nature lover and loves visiting the mountains on his motorbike.

Abhishek Anand

Cluster Program Lead, Kamrup, Assam

Hailing from Silk City Bhagalpur, Bihar, with years of his creativity in designing and arts, and he is pass out from NIFT-Kolkata. He is a founder of D-HEIGHTS, which is a fashion Brand and deals with home furnishing fabric. One of the founding Member of COEXCL SERVICES PVT LTD. It’s a unique learning portal which provides online study materials and Real time tutor services. Participated in Bangalore Fashion Week, Bangkok Edition as a Designer. Served as Textile Designer with Ministry of Textile for Bhagalpur Mega Handloom cluster. He is a team organiser and is very co-operative in terms of team work and is always result oriented.

Akash Agarwal

Program Officer, Maniabandha, Odisha

A textile design graduate from NID Ahmedabad and NIFT Bangalore, Akash has prior experiences of working with traditional crafts and artisans across India. He has a keen interest in the areas of Handloom weaving and printing, and has worked on projects that include weaving, print design and surface development. His prior experiences have given him a first hand insight into working with craft communities and enjoys documentation of processes, techniques and designs. He aims to continue working with sustainable craft textiles using traditional production practices and would like to continue to learn through textiles and contribute to the field.

Chhavi Saklani

Assistant Marketing Officer, New Delhi

Chhavi is a graduate in textile design from NIFT, Gandhinagar and has worked in several organizations working in the craft sector both as a designer and a marketeer. A post graduate in creative communications from MICA, she aims to bridge the gap between today's digital native generation and the craftspeople by devising easier ways of communication and aids that can enable them to be independent social media marketeers.

Dr. Devdas Mohanty

Cluster Program Lead, Gopalpur, Odisha

Devdas is a post-graduate in Economics and a PhD in Arts (tribal economy) from Sambalpur University. He has been working in the development sector since more than two decades. His area of interest includes researches in tribal studies and was involved in intensive field work among the particularly vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in Odisha. His subjects of research have varied ranging from Tribal art, religion to ethno-medicine, involving meticulous planning, collection and analysis of tribal cultural practices. Prior to joining team Antaran, he was involved in development practice devising and implementing mitigation measures to address poverty. He has long years of experience in leading resettlement and rehabilitation efforts to address vulnerabilities of tribals displaced due to industrial projects in Odisha

D. Shri Anvesha

Program Officer, Nalbari, Assam

A rural management graduate from IRMA, Anand who enjoys working in the handloom and handicrafts sector. Has previously worked with Rangsutra Crafts India Limited, an artisan owned collective as a Cluster Development Manager. She is currently working as a Program Officer (Business) for Nalbari Cluster, Assam. In the long run, she aims to work with various craft groups across the country and use her professional experience to address their challenges in a sustainable manner.

Diana Frenchman

Program Officer, Kamrup, Assam

Prior to her role at Tata Trusts, Diana was also Project Lead from 2016-17 at KAAYI – The Black Sheep, her own endeavour to enhance livelihoods in the Nanda Devi Bisophere Reserve Region of Uttarakhand, after which she worked as a Project Coordinator at the Centre for Management in Agriculture, IIM Ahmedabad under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. She pursued a Masters Level Exchange Program in Sustainable Development Policy from Sciences Po Paris and was a recipient of the Charpak Scholarship granted by the French Government. She then pursued a Master in Sustainable Development Practice from TERI University New Delhi where she received the Maneesh Manjunath Scholarship.


Regional Program Lead, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha

Hrishikesh was born in Ranchi and studied textile design from NIFT, New Delhi. He has worked with a wide range of private sector clients, both national and international NGO’s including IM Sweden, TLM UK, Fabindia, MESH, ILFS CDI, Avani, AIACA and SEWA. He was associated with various institutions like IIT Delhi, NIFT, SPA Delhi and IGDTUW where he organised workshops and conducted classes on design thinking, materials and design processes. With the wide range of experience in varied skills, crafts, materials and technology he has successfully planned and designed several studios with facilities in weaving, printing, dyeing, woodwork and metalwork for workshops, training and educational purposes.

Mallika Shah

Business Development Officer, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Mallika Shah is a fashion graduate with a specialization in Textiles and an active and conscientious involvement in the development sector. She strongly believes in the indispensable mission of building India as a developed nation. One where the socio-economic standard of life is upgraded equitably. She has traveled as part of social entrepreneurship and leadership programs to many rural areas of the country. Before being a part of Tata Trusts, she worked in private retail sector.

Neeraj Kumar Sinha

Cluster Program Lead, Venkatagiri, Andhra Pradesh

Neeraj closely understands the needs of artisans and the demands of the craft and has been working in the artisanal environment. He has worked extensively with government sponsored schemes as a design and technical consultant. He has worked with the organic silk rearers and weavers of Jharkhand & Chhattisgarh and has helped Jharcraft, a Govt. Of Jharkhand organization, to connect with European buyers with his design input and assistance in developing organic tussar silk products suitable for Europe. By working with the roots of the handloom sector, Neeraj understands how to uplift both individual weavers and quality of product for a better value.

Ninoto Zhimomi

Program Coordinator, Dimapur, Nagaland

Hailing from Chekiye village in Dimapur, Nagaland, Ninoto Zhimomi completed his B. Tech in Textile Technology from the Indian Institute of Carpet and Textile Technology Badhohi, Uttar Pradesh. For the past few years he has served as a textile designer, a consultant and a development executive under different departments. His recent activities include Eri silk spinning at Fabric Plus, Guwahati. Currently, he also serves as a secretary at Network of Blood Donors (NOBD), and as a core member at Team Clean Dimapur and Team Better Dimapura. He is also an advisor at CAN YOUTH NGO. Ninoto is currently a Senior Project Associate at NEIDA.

Pallavi Gaur

Cluster Program Lead, Maniabandha, Odisha

Before Antaran, Pallavi worked as Program Coordinator with Somaiya Kala Vidya, a design school for traditional artisans of Kutch. Previously, she has also worked with Malkha and The Handloom School. With a degree in Economics and Masters in Development, she is passionate about community building through the upliftment of the underprivileged. She has volunteered with The YP Foundation in Delhi and headed the project ‘Swaraj’ at Youth Alliance to help establish and run a livelihood centre in a village in Kanpur. In the long run, Pallavi aims to contribute towards building a more equitable and sustainable society.”

Pankaj Shah

Mentor, Bhuj, Gujarat

With a background in commerce, Pankaj Shah has been passionately involved in the development and revitalisation of traditional crafts for over twenty years. He has worked towards making traditional crafts viable in contemporary markets while conserving cultural uniqueness and ensuring artisans recognize and take control of their craft heritage. He is the co-founder of Qasab – an initiative for revival, rebirth and reinterpretation of embroidery. Former co-founder at Khamir – an initiative set up to rebuild artisanal livelihoods and enkindle and re-position traditional crafts of Kutch. He also helped establish Shaam-e- Sarhad, a community based endogenous tourism project in Hodka, Kutch along with others.

Parwez Alam

Regional Program Lead, Kohima, Nagaland

A textile design graduate from NIFT, New Delhi, Parwez has six years of experience working in various handloom and print clusters of India learning about different fabrics, embroideries and prints. He has worked with both mill-made and handloom fabrics that characterize his work as diverse in nature and application. Having worked for both home businesses and leading Indian fashion brands, Parwez has developed the skills & expertise to cater to different design languages and work environments. His goal is to work with sustainable textiles & production practices which lead to a balanced lifestyle.

R. Raghavendra

Program Officer, Venkatagiri, Andhra Pradesh

Raghavendra started his journey in Rural Upliftment(RUP) portfolio with Tata Trusts in May-2018 and joined the Antaran-Transforming Crafts family in September-2019. He pursued his Masters in Business Administration with specialization in Operations & Systems. He also has about 2.5 years of experience at Tech Mahindra Limited in the field of Information Technology. Raghavendra too is an ardent lover of Indian handwoven textiles and looks forward to bringing about change in the sector in his own small ways.

Roopkatha Ghosh

Program Officer, Nalbari, Assam

A Textile Design graduate from National Institute of Fashion technology, Kolkata. Roopkatha has experience in both working and living among artisans in clusters, for a better understanding of their methods and processes. She has worked towards the development and documentation of indigenous crafts of various places like Santiniketan,West Bengal and Tarapur, Madhya Pradesh. Having worked in different organisations from small craft sectors to multi national export houses, she has gained a deep appreciation of artisanry and wishes to apply the knowledge she has gained from it for the betterment and upliftment of the Indian craft sector.

Sejal Agarwal

Program Officer, Dimapur, Nagaland

A textile design graduate from Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, Jaipur. Sejal has an experience in working towards the upliftment of women residing in rural India and Sri Lanka. She has worked towards skill development of central Jail inmates, documentation of indigenous crafts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Previously, has successfully developed self – sufficient clusters, working with sustainable products, in three clusters of Uttar Pradesh. She has a strong passion for working with crafts and a desire to act as catalyst to those associated to the craft to a better life. She believes that the crafts are a mirror of any culture and it’s important to protect them.

Sharda Gautam

Head of Crafts, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Sharda is passionate about crafts. He visualizes crafts as the key enabler for decentralized and equitable growth of India’s economy. Sharda started his career with General Motors after completing Mechanical Engineering from NIT-Surat. He switched gears from corporate to development sector in order to learn and contribute to rural economic growth. He completed his masters from the Institute of Rural Management Anand as Gold Medalist. Thereafter, he has been working in the domain of non-agrarian livelihoods, renewable energy and crafts for over 10 years. He was a recipient of the Amul- TATA Scholarship and was a 2017 Acumen Regional Fellow.

Ushasi Rudra

Program Officer, Gopalpur, Odisha

Ushasi believes that her passion towards the handicraft and handloom traditions of India have brought her close to co-creating with artisans. She is sensitive towards the craft and follows a research oriented approach in design. Coming from two school of thoughts NID and NIFT, she looks forward to applying her educational knowledge in the development of Indian craft sector. Prior to Tata Trusts, she has worked with designers and in export houses which adds to her understanding of the textile industry and the market.

Vishesh Sharma

Marketing Manager, New Delhi

Vishesh looks after the crafts portfolio in the marketing domain at Tata Trusts. Having seven years of experience in the fashion & lifestyle industry with a key focus on marketing and communications, Vishesh strives to bridge the gap between the artisans and the market at large. Prior to his role at Tata Trusts, he was associated with Good Earth as a marketing manager. Having worked with brand like, Reliance Brands and Edelman, his area of expertise in public relations, events, social media marketing, business development an alliance. Vishesh holds a post graduate degree in public relations and corporate communications from the University of Leeds.