These numbers should suffice to give policy makers a moment of pause - 135 lakh people, 70%, 6, 38,365 villages, 1000 clusters, 5000 years. In order they are, the hugh base of craftsperson’s and weavers, trained in skills that are learned outside the mainstream of the current educational system; over 70% of whom belong to the socially and economically deprived sections of our society; self employed and working across lakhs of villages, the second largest sector after agriculture in terms of employment; With over 1000 handloom and handicraft production centres spread throughout India; the sectors civilizational links that go back 5 millennia to ancient multi- cultural traditions and its continuing contemporary contribution not only as the wellspring of Indian creativity, but equally to rural economic development.
Yet in reports, statements, conversations on policy and development this sector is notable for its absence. It is time now to come out of the shadow to build a path to development, equity and growth for this sector.
The focus of this paper is on a particular thought - the pushing the frontiers of mainstream education to include the methodologies of creativity and technical hand-skills - mainstreaming the traditional knowledge systems of Indian craft, inculcating it into the curriculum, equitably combining the intellectual with the hand-skills.
The Indian craftsperson and weaver has till now...