INDIAN CRAFTSMEN & CRISIS

Nov 24, 2020     GKFTII

INDIAN CRAFTSMEN & CRISIS

The traditions of the Indian craftmen are the means and ways by which his professional activity puts into form & practice his knowledge of the Principle. His particular craft is the sphere in which he is competent to apply this knowledge. The knowledgeof the Principle is imparted to him through the Tradition. The craftmen carries and forms it and make it available to the community which shares in the Tradition, each according to his particular place and station in life. The Traditon embraces the life of the whole community. Thus, the craftmen is involved with his own people more deeply then by common intrests or a sphere of cooprative living.

 

Indian handicrafts is an art of making crafts by hand in India is called Indian handicrafts, in ancient India people lived in colonies called tribals and they were used to make utility items for their daily need, that art of making the crafts called handicrafts, and the items called handicrafts goods. Then people started selling these products in the local markets “haat”. Time has been passed and people have become more developed and civilised in all aspects, those who were making handicraft products have started trading their makings by increasing demand and population.

The crafts of India have been valued throughout time; their existence today proves the efforts put into their preservation. Contemporary designers such as Ritu Kumar and Ritu Virani are constantly embedding traditional crafts into their designs.

India's rich cultural heritage and centuries of evolutionary tradition is manifested by the huge variety of handicrafts made all over the country. Through the ages, handicrafts made in India like theKashmiri woollen carpets,Zari embroidered fabrics, terracotta and ceramic products, silk fabrics etc. have maintained their exclusiveness. In the ancient times, these handicrafts were exported to far off countries of Europe, Africa, West Asia and Far East via the ‘Silk route’. The entire wealth of timeless Indian handicrafts has survived through the ages. These crafts carry the magnetic appeal of the Indian culture that promises exclusivity, beauty, dignity and style. Handicrafts are the creative products made by the skill of the hand without the help of modern machinery and equipment. Nowadays, hand-made products are considered to be a fashion statement and an item of luxury.

Handcrafted items are losing their relevance in contemporary markets as they are unable to compete with machine-made products, suffer from a fragmented value chain and weak infrastructure, and are unattractive livelihoods sources for younger generations. If these trends continue, India as a nation stands to lose much more than simply a range of beautiful products. The sector is the second largest source of livelihood after agriculture; is a fundamental vehicle of Indian heritage, culture and identity; and represents wealth of knowledge and skills that have been acquired over centuries.

The current scenario in the Indian handicraft and handlooms sector is defined by patchy access to handcrafted products for customers, and an equally patchy access to markets for artisans.

The Indian handicraft sector has evidently seen a downfall in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis in India. It has been round about an year since the craftspeople in India have been to any Melas, or made any sales, or received orders or prospects. These are tough times, and it is hard to imagine why anyone would place an order for an art piece, a wedding lehenga that costs lakhs of rupees, or other items of crafts and handicrafts from an online handicrafts store. Times have changed, and it has become apparent to the artisan families in India that their approach needs to be changed too. 

Amidst these times, one thing is crystal clear to the artisan communities in India – there are not going to be any orders for the traditional art pieces, the heavy embroidery clothing, tourist souvenirs, or other purely decorative home items. The shift needs to happen to produce handicraft items that are not only decorative but also very functional. It is perhaps time to go back to that golden age, where handicrafts were mainly focused on making everyday functional home items look more decorative and lively. 

Many artisan families have already made this transition, while the rest of them are getting there. While most of the pessimistic economists are of an opinion that it is going to take years for the crafts sector to get back to business-as-usual, we believe there’s a big silver lining to this cloud of COVID-19, for the Indian handicraft industry. 


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