Bringing Arts, Crafts And Culture To School Children

Education/Learning, Policy

Bringing Arts, Crafts And Culture To School Children

Majumdar, Minhazz

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For the past two years, I have been working with a team of folk artists and craftspeople to generate awareness about Indian folk art and craft traditions amongst schoolchildren in New Delhi. During the course of one such interaction, a teacher asked why we needed to do something like this? At first, I was totally perplexed -why did she feel the need to ask this question? Was it because of a perception that in this intensely technological world, there is no space for people who work with their hands? Are the artists and artisans seen as carriers of a fossilized tradition? In this wired and unwired world, are these people redundant? This article is essentially an attempt to answer the all-important why? Why is it necessary to create spaces where the young can view and learn aspects of their cultural heritage? Why is it critical that we work towards preserving and promoting the arts and crafts of India and the people who practice them? Why is it necessary to bring culture to the classroom?

Perhaps a closer look at one of my motivations to undertake such an endeavour will provide some clues. As a mother of an eight year old, I realized that with the children's quota of Barbie dolls (very hard to resist), Western and Japanese cartoons, video-games, studies and sports, art and craft was somehow slipping away. Sure, children saw some evidence of Indian art and craft when we took them to Dilli Haat or the Crafts Museum. - I watched how captivated they were at the lac bangle maker's stall, how ea...
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