Give Indian handicraft a wider market to prosper - The New Indian Express

Give Indian handicraft a wider market to prosper

Published: 31st October 2012 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 30th October 2012 10:47 PM

The story of Indian handicrafts goes back to the mists of the past. What began as the fashioning of tools for use at home and in the fields gradually acquired greater sophistication till the artefacts and handloom products became works of art. From the time of the Mohenjo-daro and Harappan civilisation, the exquisite handiwork of the artisans, including the 5,000-year-old famous bronze statue of the dancing girl, has won worldwide admiration down to the present day. Yet, the share of their products in the world market is a mere two per cent.

Considering that there are 6.8 million artisans in India, the production of their handmade merchandise is probably the second largest source of employment in the rural areas. With greater encouragement from the government they should be able to sell more of their products at home and abroad, raising the standard of their life and persuading more practitioners of their craft to join the profession. Since their artistic sense is intrinsic and the craft has a rich tradition, it will not take long for newcomers to become as skilful as those who are already in the business.

Although voluntary organisations and official enterprises have been active in the field for many years to link the sellers to the buyers by arranging for the greater visibility of products, their continuing low market share despite their diversity and craftsmanship indicates that a lot remains to be done. In addition to wider publicity in the media, especially abroad in view of the unique nature of the decorative pieces, jewellery, cane and bamboo items, home furnishings and other products, and the establishment of more emporiums for them, there is a need to opt for online shopping and similar other ventures. In short, an environment has to be created that will act as an incentive for the artisans, including the more marginalised among them, and bring them into the market.

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