Creativity is always about new, tiny, almost invisible initiatives. It needs to be shared to grow and find space in people’s hearts. Small towns and villages do not have the persity of people or the financial market to support such creativity.
Founder : Nitin Pamnani – Nitin Pamnani
iTokri.com is a space that celebrates collective creativity. An idea that believes each one of us has that spark to color life and world in our own strokes. It is the story of reclaiming the persity, of having a million narratives. Of understanding that there should never be a monopoly or a oligopoly of voice/s. Of finding a balance of financial sustainability with aesthetic and an ethical basis. It could be fair-trade, it could be a passion for beauty, it could be sheer drive of innovation and entrepreneurship, it could be an interest in organic/ecological issues, it could be cultural/political radicalism.
In our land a subterranean movement has been taking place, we call it the Underground Unlimited. In craft, in music, in design, in art, in architecture, in painting, in fashion, in documentary filmmaking. Many small communities of friends and co-travelers have been working, playing, thinking, being, doing together many ‘New Indian Aesthetic’ things and processes. At iTokri.com we shall understand and share their stories and experiences being a community website with design/craft stores, vibrant stories, narratives, documentaries, activism, music, blog, etc.
iTokri.com would also bring together many innovative design and craft businesses in India who need a logistic center thus building a store, which understands Indian shopping sensibilities, and develop a creative and sustainable model for craftspeople on the other hand.
यह एक उत्सव की दावत है…भारतीय रचना और संवाद का उत्सव!!!
हम उत्सव मनाएंगे उन लाखों कबीलाई जातियों की तरह जो ख़ुशी में, गम में, मृत्यु में, प्रतिरोध में नाचती आई हैं बिना किसी की परवाह किये हुए… आपने स्वपनों, अपनी चिंताओं के साथ… उन्मुक्तता से!!!
“सन्नी के साथ एक बेमतलब सी मुलाकात से शुरू हुआ सिलसिला कब एक खूबसूरत से सफर में तब्दील हो गया पता नहीं चला. फिल्म बनाते बनाते कब मन हाथ से बनी और दिल से निखरी खूबसूरत चीज़ों और तानों-बानों में ढलता चला गया इसका एहसास पूरी तरह अभी भी होना बाकी है.
लगभग आठ साल बाद आज भी सन्नी की संगत में विचार एक ताज़े झरने की तरह बहते हैं. बहाव कभी कभी इतना तेज़ होता है की उसके नीचे टिक पाने के लिए एक गहरे समुन्दर का रूप धरना पड़ता है.
एक असंभव सी ऊर्जा लिए हुए एक व्यक्तित्व आपने आस पास की अभिव्यक्तियों को निरंतर प्रभावित करने का माद्दा रखता है.
आई.टोकरी का सफर काफी मुश्किलों से भरा रहा है. एक छोटे से शहर से एक अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर के मंच को चलना शुरू में असंभव सा लग रहा था. लेकिन सपना बड़ा रहा और संगी हिम्मती। दस्तकार, बिंदास, हाथी छाप, जुगाड़, पीपल ट्री जैसी संस्थाओं ने संभव हो पाने का भरोसा दिलाया और आज भी दिला रहे हैं. मैं और जिया यहाँ पत्थरों से घिरे, छोटे से शहर से एक मिले जुले से सपने को जी रहे हैं.
जब कर्म स्वप्न से ऊर्जा लेने लगता है तो जीवन एक गुनगुनी सी नदी में तब्दील हो जाता है जिसके आस पास कई छोटे छोटे जीवन और स्वपन पनपने लगते हैं. आज पांच लोगों से शुरू हुआ सफर लगभग एक सौ लोगों को अपने साथ लिए हुए है, जिसमे से अधिकतर आस पास के घरों से आने वाली लड़कियां हैं.
ग्वालियर जब भी आना हो तो आई.टोकरी जरूर आना!”
From Sunny Narang’s Facebook Posts :
6th August, 2015
We have zari, gota, thousands of hand embroideries, patchwork, wasted handlooms. And people are bringing them together to make a tie-of-love
Brought to you by The Iconic Hand-Loved e-store iTokri.com from Gwalior, co-founded by Nitin K Pamnani (ex-and-still-dreaming Doco film maker ) and Jia Nitin Pamnani (costume jewelry maker, craft-design-entrepreneur).
This is called ‘Ghar-Mein-Bahaar-Dhandha’. After spending many years in the Big Bad Delhi they go back to Gwalior and create an unique start-up that now employs almost 40 young men and women, giving respect and dignity, working like a family and community.
This business is run from the joint-family home.
Many new bootstrap stories of entrepreneurship supported by family and friends and co-travelers are now being written . From Tier-Whatever Towns.
Lage Raho, isi mein Liberation hai !
14th August, 2013
One of the nicest things about shopping at the handicrafts website Itokri.com is the hand-written note that accompanies your order. The message is generic enough—”Thank you for shopping with us, we would love to see you back”—but it’s the fact that such a note exists, and is accompanied by a small gift when you place your first order.
Despite getting between 50 and 80 requests for curios, fabric, bags, jewellery and stationery every day, the team behind the Gwalior-based Itokri tries as far as possible to personalize transactions. “We want to keep the communication real and besides, people are forgetting to write by hand,” says Nitin K. Pamnani, one of the people behind the one-year-old website.
Itokri is comprehensive—it has products by such groups and companies as Bindaas, People Tree, Either Or, Jalpari, Potliand Haathi Chaap.
The site also stocks documentaries. “We have already quality checked the products—it is like Flipkart but in a really small way,” says Pamnani, who directed Black Pamphlets, about student elections in Delhi, and Main Tumhara Kavi Hoon, about the poet Ramshankar Yadav “Virodhi”. But the site is not complete, and doesn’t want to be. “We are a curated store,” Pamnani says. The team carefully selects the merchandise rather than allowing anything and everything to be sold.
12th August, 2013
When we brain-stormed about iTokri.com, the idea was to seel rural crafts , crafts designed by urban cool junta , books by small publishers , docos , paintings and photographs by emerging creative folks . But since the toli of iTokri was based in Gwalior , the dream was also to get local delicacies go national . Small famous halwais and mithaiwallahs represented virtually . The logistics of couriers has developed to make it possible.
Now the absolutely local can go national. My favourite theory has been for some time, that the internet and digital cultures will allow for flourishing of the thousands or oral and visual cultures, and the niche to be known nationally. We don’t need the chains or the channels. We just need word of mouth and patience and we will find our rasiks throughout the land .
So here it is. Fresh from the chulahs of Gwalior.
29th June, 2013
This was 2010 . The Third m.a.f.i.a. get-together in Uttarakhand , near the Saat Taals ! Thanks to Gurpal Virji , many assorted crazies – film-makers, musicians and interesting log met each other for about 3 days. Much chemistry happened. Nitin K Pamnani who made the most interesting Delhi University election and politics film I have ever seen Black Pamphlets , was a student CPI(ML)Liberation activist then and I got along famously.
He from a Sindhi family in Gwalior had a nonchalance and attitude of “koi darr nahin” and an easy-going desipanti. But as I joke , like in Goa you throw a stone it lands on a church or a pub, in Delhi you throw a stone , it lands on a documentary film-maker . Nitin was a full-time documentary film-maker, not yet married and living in a party apartment with a friend Imran Philmi his associate film-maker.
They were passionate about another film which they were attempting, on the nomadic-urban-tribal-JNU-poet Vidrohi . As life went on, Nitin gets married to his Bihar party member’s daughter Jia . I support the film with few others and it wins the Golden Conch and becomes famous as Main Tumhara Kavi Hoon [I Am Your Poet] – The Film.
Nitin comes for a craft mela by Dastkar later that year and is shocked that he has lived so many years in Delhi and not experienced the innovation, the beauty in Indian crafts. He being the subaltern , was troubled that so much of India , small-town India, the wrong-parts of metros and big cities will never even see all this.
I start telling him about the amazing persity of craft and indigenous production processes , the thousands of groups, non-profits, small businesses, stores, designers, activists working in this sector. And we germinate an idea of an adda online where crafts, books, documentaries, art, photography will retail, and from a town in middle-of-middle India with intimacy, warmth and personalisation, or whatever of it is possible online.
His father a small rice-miller would be happy to also have his only son back with him, Nitin and Jia (who meanwhile interned in jewlery making in People Tree) would have a back-up of the larger clan when they would attempt this and also start a family.
It has been a crazy journey, with developers running away, setting up logistics from Gwalior. But we together have created a great network of craft and design, small dedicated brands and artisans. The services offered with selling of small ‘happy touches’ is well recieved by the rasiks. Jia runs a whole workshop making costume jewlery Jalpari and from 4 people they are now 20 people, covering all their costs, on an almost boot-strapped e-commerce model, while many big ones with venture and angel funding have collapsed.
This is because this has been done the old-fashioned Indian way. Friends and Family, and a revenue based model on low costs from home. This is the way most Indians anyways live, not in corporate or government jobs, but sustainable self-employment and employ few others. This is what I call the real economic-democracy of India.
And Indian creativity finds its next growth market. The thousands of small towns and anywhere else in the world. A sensitive team to aesthetic, equity, creativity and above all that very very desi feel of ‘thoda hai thode ki zaroorat hai‘ and ‘sare ke sare gama ko lekar gaate chale‘.
29th June, 2012
Nothing much has happened on 29th June in history, someone called Jina Guseva attempts to assassinate Grigori Rasputin at his home town in Siberia in 1914, on this day ! Nitin K Pamnani is primarily a documentary film-maker, a listener first and then a story-teller. His first experience of a Dastkar Nature Bazaar was in 2010 in IGNCA. Despite having been in Delhi for years and a political activist from the deep-left he had never experienced crafts and design like this. He felt that why was it like this. Why such beauty and effort was in a closed circle of South Delhi elite.
That day began the journey of iTokri. That it would be based in Gwalior, closer to the centre of India. Nitin would be a logistics entrepreneur, a creative fun story-teller for crafts and the gaon and kasba. It goes live today, in a much smaller avataar than dreamt. But its better to start with imperfection than to never manifest a dream. It will also sell stuff , while telling hazaar kahanis and try to become a community of creative, fun, visionary folks from all over this mad-land.
The future is where you are. There is no centre and no periphery . Each space, each one of us IS the centre, is the periphery and all in-between.
7th August, 2012
Nitin K Pamnani, an award winning film-maker who makes them only in Hindustani, from Gwalior, MP, and Jia Romi, from Ara, Bihar, now a costume jewellery designer due to her internship in People Tree have started this mad experimental online store from Gwalior.
I loved their guts and am right behind their dream to build an active and celebratory community of artisans, designers, artists, film-makers who are now in awe of the big city and bigger degrees.
They both share a love and madness to take crafts to the centre of direct retail to middle of India . More power to a thousand dreams from small towns
9th June, 2012
Going live on 29th June 2012. iTokri is going to rock !
It actually is a story with a store. It is about building communities, about telling stories of India which the TV and Cinema won’t , it is about friends and co-travelers. Just imagine what will happen when story-tellers, film-makers, artisans, designers, artists , nerds get together to make their own online space to share their creativity. iTokri abhi aayeee !
February 16th, 2012
The film won the best documentary (under 40 minutes) award in the international competition section of the recently concluded Mumbai International Film Festival for short films, and you knew exactly why.
Documentaries are rarely works of such total surrender to the subject as this one is. From the first frame to the last, the camera goes where the poet Ramashankar ‘Vidrohi’ wills.
The poet walks, the camera follows, looking for images to match his pace and words.
Vidrohi has been living on the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University since 1983 when he was rusticated for active participation in a massive student movement.
He was thrown out of the campus for abusive language in a public place in August 2010, but was allowed back under pressure from the students.
This film was to be on a poet and his poetry. It became a story of a person who lives a poem. We try to understand the person we see the poem, we try to understand the poetry; the poet comes and stands in front of us. And as we journey through the poetry and the poet, we end up with a mirror. In the mirror, a roughly-hewn life, small, innocent…. a dream-like existence, in the scrub forest, among the silent ruins, the old streets in the middle of the polis.
The poetry slowly shows us the way, and the way slowly becomes poetry Ramashankar Vidrohi has never written poetry, he speaks out poetry. He is poet of our unknown, unorganized, underground nation. He is the poet of those whose constituency is always bearing the cost of empire builders, the women, the children, and the billions who lie on the steps to the centre of power structure.
Golden Conch for Best Film in International Competition at Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), 2012
VIBGYOR Film festival, Kerala, 2012
Madurai Documentary and short Film Festival, 2012
Persistence Resistance 2012
Cinema of resistance-2012, India
18th December, 2011
Yeh hamaare do dost hain – Imran Khan aur Nitin K Pamnani. Vaise to kaafi lafange parinde type ke ladke hain, par kahin se junoon tha ki pichar banayenge. Ek nahin, do ban gayee. Koi badi degree nahin, koi bade sheher ke videshi contact nahin. Ek Gwalior se, aur ek Munirka Gaon se , aur kar li fateh. Mumbai International Film Festival main jeet haasil ki- ek anjaan kavi ki ek kavya film. Is zamane main kavi, kavita aur gehraiyee ki itni pehchaan , bhai maza aa gaya !
2nd July, 2010
Ever thought about the young men and women who fight elections in Delhi University. An insiders view to the caste and chaos of DU, the Biharis and Jats, Gujjars.The educated uninterested , and the one who wants the army to back him ! If you are from DU you will just love it. Nitin is a MA in Hindi honours whose choice of interviews sets a humorous and dark context to this incubator of mainstream politics. Shot in 2005.