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Book Review

Craft, Handloom, Art, Policy, Reviews

Book Review: Civil Disobedience- Two Freedom Struggles, One Life. By L.C. JAIN

Tyabji, Laila

A man who says firmly at 85 that the loss of idealism is "unacceptable." We mourn his passing. L C Jain's posthumously published autobiography, lovingly put together by his son while LC lay dying, poignantly evokes his voice - always inspirational, never chastising. It also brings vividly to life a persona and an era that has much to teach us - as India flounders even as a handful of Indians flourish. "If our political class cannot give any inspiration or courage to anybody, how will our civilisation survive?" Jain asks. "We will break something of enduring value; we will injure the best interests of humanity." I first met LC 30 years ago. A group of us were brainstorming ways to bring Indian craft back into the economic and cultural centre-stage. Someone suggested we meet LC Jain. I remember that first meeting - his beautiful expressive face alight with enthusiasm and the conviction we COULD do something. It was he who gave Dastkar its name, urging that it was the craftsperson, the 'Dastkar', that must be our core and motivation, not just "reviving beautiful craft". His wit and wisdom illuminated every discussion, making Gandhian economics not only possible, but the only possible option. His years travelling India with Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya as his mentor, setting up the Handicrafts Board, the Indian Cooperative Union, and the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, serving on the Planning Commission, helped signpost opportunities, highlight problems. He k...

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