Every state, and within it every little village, in India has its own creative interpretation of its indigenous resources-leading to the creation of a piece of craft that is technically not replaceable or replicable, and is representative of that region.
The gamut is across clothing, jewellery, decor and even daily use objects that pretty much define and, at the same time, are derived from the region’s lifestyle patterns.
The quality of the water in the rivers of Gujarat lends the vivid colours to its bandhini craft, and the beauty of these very colours adorn the women and men alike to effectively offset the arid desert surroundings. A fine example of a perfect balance and a perfect harmony among nature, its resources and its consumers.
The context of the times
India is and has been on a road to modernisation and growth. It is bound to go global for it to be a successful and an influential economy. But, where and how does that objective find a place for its crafts, and these micro self-sustainable multi-economies that exist in its villages? How do we globalise them, and yet not take away their self-sufficiency? How do we make them walk the path of modernisation, and yet not uproot them? These are tough questions, which if answered well and strategised through, can help us develop a unique and successful economy that no other nation can replicate, but only envy.
There are simple efforts, and then there are effective, intelligent efforts that have been done in the past to restore, revive and sustain our crafts.
Let us look at some of the key factors that are indisputable, and require a focused thought in order to maintain this very tender balance.
It is imperative that the craftspeople get their due and move along with the nation and its growth curve. Craftspeople by their very nature are passionate and dedicated to their craft. They are taught to worship their craft, and they look at it as their livelihood. However, there has been an exodus of sorts in many regions as they have felt unrewarded and frustrated. This situation is a prime concern.
There were times when there existed patrons of arts and artists. They were the providers for skills to flourish. Does this role of the patron in a democracy lie with the government? This is a question never answered, never understood, but implemented with some half-hearted attempts. This may not be a fair assessment, but yet in all fairness the outcome has not been standard. It is not that the privileged today value art any less.