Towards a Renaissance of India’s Crafts

Op-Ed

Towards a Renaissance of India’s Crafts

Jaitly, Jaya

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya was an extraordinary woman who lived in extraordinary times and made full use of her innate potential to change and shape events for a better India. It was a new India in the making in the early years after we became an independent country.  It was a time the country became ours to mold policies as we wished. During the times of the struggle for freedom, women stood alongside men, fighting in a non-violent manner, going to jail, standing tall, and believing in our potential as equal and free citizens. Once we became free, it was largely the male leadership that decided what form India’s development would take. It is this trend and mindset that continues even today, when we see the woefully small numbers of women in the decision-making and legislative processes of this country. Some women remained undeterred. Kamaldeviji was one of them. She moved away from party politics but chose to continue her passion for identifying and nurturing the cultural expressions of India. The theatre arts, hand crafts, handmade textiles, art forms, alongside with justice and equality in society, development and creativity were all part of an integral whole for her.  Creativity for her was freedom – freedom of expression. But what followed over the decades was a compartmentalization of these facets; development meant industrial development, secularism meant forgetting the immense source of India’s cultural forms that are rooted in spirituality, myth, legends, history and even the worship of the sacred through work.  We opened our doors to mechanized and automated ...
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