We all know of Bonsai as the art of creating miniature trees. There are many perspectives to look at Bonsai, be it from an aesthetic design point of view or a more functional approach that our ancestors had adopted – they sourced a lot of medicinal material from trees and creating their miniature version (through the art of Bonsai or as it was known in ancient India, Vaman Vruksha Kala) allowed them greater mobility and reach.
However, there is an entirely different angle to view Bonsai that has remained utterly unexplored in India: as a source of income and employment.
That’s right! Bonsai can provide employment. Now, you must be wondering how miniature trees can make you money. Will I sell them? Do they demand a high price? Most certainly. You can definitely make money by selling them; cultivating Bonsai trees as an art form can prove to be a massive source of income. Including Bonsai under the Skill India mission can potentially develop at least 200 youth per city who can be employed as Bonsai artists.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Bonsai’s potential as an employment generator goes way beyond its art form. There’s a huge income opportunity in providing pre-material to international markets. Pre-material means trees that have been grown for 7-8 years which can be cultivated into Bonsai trees. Farmers’ wives can plant these trees along edges of their farms which will not interfere with regular farming practices. This plantation alone can fetch them around 15 to 20 thousand rupees per month, turning them into entrepreneurs!
Internationally, Bonsai has a flourishing market. There are numerous Bonsai gardens in Japan. China exports around 1 lakh pre-material plants per week. Foreign countries are definitely reaping the rewards of investing in Bonsai art. It is time that India, with its inherent natural richness and wisdom of Vaman Vruksha Kala enters the fray.