Handmade crafts and arts have a narrative quality. They are not moulded or created with external force. They grow from within and are composed of the ‘Idea’, the DNA of its maker and his story. They are sustainable because they are not not made in surplus. Human limitation thus acts as an asset to our environment. Hence they should be promoted more than machine made goods. They should not be replaced, they need to be improved to suit the times today. This is what I feel and many people around the country who are trying to uplift crafts around India. I believe that the motivation to uplift crafts around India should be more anthropological then economic. If we only saw the value in what it does to expand cultural aspects and not just economic, perhaps we would come up with better strategies to protect and promote it.
Sadly from the personal point of view of the craftsman, the condition of crafts in India is not working in their favour. These crafts are at the risk of extinction because machine made goods are being preferred more than handmade. The consumer choses machine made objects because they are inexpensive. The craftsmanship livelihood and economic status is much the same as it were before independence’s. Of course their are initiatives to improve these conditions but some how somewhere the benefits of these initiatives never really reach the right people. The craftsman always suffers.
I have a few case studies that explain this better.
A potters village in Pokhran, Rajasthan that speaks for a dying sustainable craft. A Jewellery maker in Pushkar, Rajasthan and how his language has taken shape from his work and the troubles of a Weaver from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.