Kasturi, Poonam Bir
Take a "halwai" (a sweetmeat cook) a master at his job of making samosas, jaleebi's and pakodas, send him to Alaska and ask him to make food for the populace there. In addition to not being equipped for the weather, he will have a real problem figuring out what that culture, palate and table require.This is what we expect craftspeople today in India to do. One stone craftsperson stated the problem clearly - "We know how to cut, polish, engrave, but we no longer know what to make, we hesitate, we just don't know". There are many reasons why the craftsperson feels like this today, the result is that he no longer feels in control of the process of creation and production. His relationship with resources, design, production, market has changed from interdependency to dependency. Is this acceptable? Some say it is inevitable and necessary. They argue that crafts is just "industry" and urge crafts to follow the way of industrialization - increased volume of production, mechanization, making to order, piecework, vendorisation. This is the only way the quality of life of craftspeople will improve is their conclusion. By that logic the quality of life and work of the Moradabad brass workers, the Sahranpur wood carvers, the Dhangadhra stone carvers, the Jodhpur carpenters must be at par with the owners of the export houses they work for. The craftsperson's children should also have the freedom to choose a career, and not have to follow the trade because of no alternatives. Lets be honest, m...