A Hast Kala Akademi Would Give Status to Craftspeople

Advocacy, Craft, Handloom, Art, Organisations, Institutions, Movements, Policy

A Hast Kala Akademi Would Give Status to Craftspeople

Jaitly, Jaya

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Should India's traditional handcrafters occupy an elevated space in people's minds or should they remain on the pavements, bazaars, haats, and perhaps marginally in malls, to be looked at as poor street cousins of India's other cultural practitioners? Sixty years after three important Akademis were set up to promote cultural arts that come under the heading of dance, music, drama, literature and the fine arts, it may be time to take note of the huge reservoir of cultural heritage passing from generation to generation through the hands of craftspeople towards establishing a body that nurtures this heritage and builds respect beyond 'marketing products' or subsidizing 'welfare'. A Hast Kala Akademi could be created as a more compact, private-public autonomous institution promoting all non-commercial aspects of the craft sector while indirectly benefiting its economic prospects as well. At a time when 'inclusiveness' is a strong component of public policy, crafts practitioners ought to be counted as repositories and propagators of India's folk and classical wisdoms, creativity, techniques, skills, and mythologies. Almost 94% of artisans and crafts people belong to the backward classes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, minorities and women. They are not among those upwardly mobile classes who take to Western culture more easily through television and social network sites. They remember their cultural histories and imbibe them in their daily lives. Craftspeopl...
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