The rhythmic wheels, the terracotta images, the Battobai's rag dolls, the painted pottery, the stone carvings or the papier Mache are some of the exquisite items that reflect the grandeur of the conception of craftsmanship.
Dated back in history,the ruins and the remains of Mohenjodaro civilization represent the true artististry of the hinterland.Yes, I'm talking about the INCREDIBLE INDIA-the place of the largest tribal population in the world. The Indian handicrafts are world renowned for their richness,élan,and beauty.
Every state, every city, every village in India represents a unique culture.Whether it is the Jaipuri Quilts,Chanderi and Batik work of Madhya Pradesh, glass artistry of Ferozabad,embroidered articles from Kutch(Gujarat) or Lace goods from Narsapur(Andhra Pradesh),wood carvings from Chattisgarh,Pashmina shawls and other woolen items from Kashmir, Uttaranchal, embroidered silk and cotton articles- every item has carved its own niche of uniqueness.Certainly, the makers behind them reveal outstanding artmanship and their entire lineage has it in their genes. But are these artisans rewarded for depicting such excellent skills?
Talking in economic terms, the handicrafts work amounts to 30% of the whole income of these people. No doubt, the tribal population has a tremendous potential,that is yet to be explored but these people are so caught in the vicious circle of the middlemen that they hardly earn a livelihood.For example ,in Meghalaya, 64%of the produces of rural artisans is captured by these middlemen and are at their mercy.The situation worsens when these artisans are further exploited due to inadequate transport facilities, proper marketing management and improper communication. These people have no choice but to surrender themselves to these middlemen. Due to all these setbacks, a major population of tribals makes handicrafts as a part of their part time occupation. This is indeed a dismay because a huge pool of talent goes unutilized.
Handicrafts making is a major source of income for rural communities employing around six million artisans including a large number of people belonging to weaker sections of the society. Indian handicrafts are in huge demand in the foreign countries but their presence in these countries can only be improved by filling the gap between demand and supply with quality , technological support and high innovation.
Also a major hindrance to export such handicrafts is that the goods are not standardized and are poor in quality. Organizing such talent can be a boon for such craftsmen as well as the handicrafts industry in India. Surely, the government is doing a lot to promote the industry but this is not enough. Various issues are hardly touched. Key areas that need to be focused upon are standardization, sales and promotion strategies, improving the quality, packaging and distribution channels. Skill development and training will prove to be a great help. Also, the exploitation of these people can be stopped by increasing their margin in the net profit. What if these products are sold under a common brand name? This will definitely add value to the products and empower those with artistic ingenuity.