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The Artist and the Craftsperson

Codes of Practice, Craftspersons/ Artisanal, Design, Designers

The Artist and the Craftsperson

Sanyal, Amba

I am tempted first to relate a story heard among the Devangan weavers of Chattisgarh about why the weaver remains poor.

Weavers are Devi worshippers because when Ma Durga was fighting the Demon, the only way to vanquish him was by fighting him with the pure energy of her nakedness. After her victory she felt the need to be clothed. The Devangan, from the word Dev (God) and Anga (pant of the body) was asked by the Goodess to prepare a cloth suitable for her with fibre taken from the stem of the lotus, which he dutifully did. She was extremely pleased and granted him a Platter full of Gold that would serve him for generations. The Gods were in the meanwhile very troubled by this boon, for then the weaver might stop weaving and they decided to do him out of this benefit. So, Vishnu disguised as a Brahmin presented himself to the Devangan, who respectfully left the seat for him. As a result the Gold Platter went by default to the Brahmin. The weaver complained of this to the Devi, she was angry, cursed the Brahmin for his greed and gave the Devangan a 'Mani', a gem that on touch would turn all into Gold. When the Devangan weaver took this home, his wife was enraged at this measly stone for what they needed was rice and dal. She threw the 'Mani' at the wall where promptly another doorway was created and the 'Mani' lay broken into two. The winds just pass in from one door and out the other. He was condemned to live by his labour and live according to his experience. Today, has...

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