Marketing Crafts

Markets, Marketing, Trade, Sustainability, Sustainable Devt.

Marketing Crafts: A Personal Perspective

Majumdar, Minhazz

The year 1992 and a quiet corner of India - Kaziranga National Park, Assam, home to the few rhinoceros left in the country. A young post-graduate straight out of university, yours truly, working in the villages around the park, trying to gauge local people's views about animal conservation. All around me, in people's homes, lay beautiful hand-woven textiles, resplendent with imagery drawn from the world around - handsome rhinos, agile deer, beautiful flowers and trees. Shawls, traditional towels called gamuchas and sarongs known locally as mekhelas were being produced by the women, expert weavers as customarily women fulfilled all clothing needs for the family. I was surprised to know that none of these were being sold, even though the women could easily produce for the market. This was my first introduction to the world of marketing (or rather lack of marketing) of crafts, a fascinating sphere that I have been exploring for the last decade.

To say that marketing crafts in India is a complex process is a definite understatement, given the great diversity in our country, the numerous chasms between ignorance and knowledge, practice and theory, maker and marketplace. Add to this cocktail, language and geographical barriers, cultural differences, social systems and the fact that India lives on different time scales - the rat race of hi-tech metros vs. the languid pace in remote villages where lives are dominated by seasons and not the clock. These are both realities of modern ...
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