Presented at the International Seminar on "Crafts, Craftspersons & Sustainable Development", New Delhi, November 16-18, 2002, sponsored by the Crafts Council of India, Development Commissioner for Handicrafts(Government of India) and the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts
I. Some Background Propositions
(i) The Education System:
The traditional Indian school system was characterized
by value-based core texts common to all students irrespective of class or caste, and then specialized professional texts such
as the shilpashastras respective to the students' occupational backgrounds.
The system that, under colonial rule, completely replaced it is rooted in the industrial ethos,
with students trained primarily not to become good citizens and human beings but to serve as well-trained workers for an
industrial economy. Its core is not value-based but market-based. Today, education in liberal values is at a discount,
education in pecuniary values at a premium.
Crafts as traditional community-based occupations survive nowhere in the industrially advanced
economies. This is a historical fact. Notwithstanding sentimental rhetoric about India's ancient heritage and resilient
culture, and official claims of a resurgence of handicrafts in India (presumably in mone...