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Putting Ideas First

Education/Learning, Policy

Putting Ideas First: The use of knowledge as a catalyst for development, equity and growth in the crafts sector

Sethi, Ritu

The crafts of India display a tremendous variety not just in the materials used and skills employed but also in terms of their widespread dispersed, sel organized production and by whom they are made. Competition with large-scale industries, the availability of machine-made imitations of hand products, the decline in the transmission of skills to younger generations and an inability to adequately understand and tap consumer markets are all contributing to the dwindling of what is still a relatively vibrant cultural legacy. Against this context, this article explores a path to development and sustainability, emphasizing access to information and the necessity for knowledge-based intervention in the creation of an enabling environment for the craft sector in India. Crafts1 and their regional setting are extremely complex from the making of the Nadaswaram, the classical wind instrument in Narasingapettai to the Perhkhuang, the bamboo string instrument from Mizoram, from the idols cast in bronze in Swamimalai to the Dhokra – lost wax metal castings of Bastar, from the weaving of Eri and Muga silk in Assam to the embroidery of the Toda tribals in the Nilgiris. The variety is enormous, and craftspersons2 work with materials as diverse as metal, wood, clay, paper, glass, grass, fibre, leather, and textiles, with enormous regional and individual variations within each group of specializatio...

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