~ Mahak Garg
India is a country with diverse cultures and traditions. Traditions are the foundations on which India has made the castle of success. Traditions are the true identity of any country that defines the country, that defines the people living there, their customs, their beliefs, their cultures. India was famous for its Arts and Sculptures and Handicrafts is one such form of arts. Handicraft is the expression of Indian History and it represents the heritage of our nation. From ancient period till date, Handicrafters have preserved art in a much better way so that the future generations can also look at this wonderful ancient art of India.
Handicrafts are the things that are made by people who are skilled in making things from their hands and using different techniques. Handicrafters use basic raw material like Clay, Wood, Jute, Macrame, Stone, Rock, Metal, Shells, Paper, Straw etc. These things are not just the show pieces but they have the affection and love of the makers who made them. There are many people who preserve Hadmade things in their homes and use it either as decorative materials or use them for their personal use and it is our privilege that we have many skillful people who have made Handicrafts popular amongst the world and are also working to preserve the ethnicity of India. There are many Villagers who earn their livelihood by making and selling these creative items
There are many forms of these creative arts :
POTTERY : It is a process of forming vessels and other things like piggy banks, vases, idols etc . using clay and other ceramic materials. One mist kept these items in their homes, since they are eco friendly. They are handmade and are full of love, affection and passion. It gives your homes a character and a beautiful look. Tou can keep earthen pots in your gardens. Though many people have forgot this art but it is still practiced in Krishnanagar in West Bengal, Lucknow, Pune, Himachal Pradesh etc.
PASHMINA SHAWLS : Pashmina Shawls were the royal choice for many ages. Pashmina refers to the fine variant of spun cashmere (animal hair fibre found in the undercoat of Changthangi goat). Pashmina accessories are known for their softness and warmth. Besides that they are Fashionable, comfortable and easy to carry by the people of all age groups. If taken care well, they don’t lose their shine even after many years.
WOODEN CRAFTS : Wooden Handicrafts were prevailing in India before Stone Sculptures came into existence. These are the show pieces made by carving and piercing wooden pieces by skilled Artisans. Then they are decorated using paints and other decorative materials. Wooden Pieces are used to decorate the houses. Toys, Utensils, Ornaments and many decorative household items such as lamp shades, candle stands, vermilion boxes, jewelry boxes, bangle holders, etc. are some of the common wooden crafts.
JUTE CRAFTS : The wide range of jute crafts includes Bags, Jewellery, Footwear, Wall hanging and many more. These beautiful baskets are excellent for storage purposes and jute pieces enhance the beauty of your house sitting in one corner. You can use them to keep fruits and vegetables or flowers for prayer and many more. West Bengal, Assam and Bihar are the largest jute producers and also lead the jute handicrafts market in India.
PUPPETRY : It is a very ancient form of theater in which doll like objects resembles like a human being or animal. Puppeteers use movement of hands to control the strings that enables the puppets to move. These shows are very effective and they not only entertain people but also teach some life values. Puppetry teaches you that “Life is Simple” and one must enjoy each and every moment of life.
From decorative materials to daily use, Handicrafts has played a vital role in the life of Indians. There was one time, when this art was the livelihood of people but today due to modernization, it is disappearing gradually from our society. There are now various new things existing that have replaced these handicraft items to a greater extent. There are many art forms which are on the verge of extinction. There are many reasons behind this. First of all, due to the invention of new technologies and machines, labour work has decreased. Since, Handicrafts require lot of hard work, these materials are very expensive. But this is the heritage of India and we must try our best to preserve it.
Though this art is vanishing from our society but still there are some cooperative and NGOs that have come forward to lend a helping hand in preserving this art. They are working hard in order to protect this heritage. Government efforts have channeled an estimated Rs 752 crore into the crafts sector during the 11th Five Year Plan (20072011). A number of institutions such as the Council for the Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) have been involved in funding and implementing development work for artisans through different schemes.
Along with the government, it is our duty as well to preserve this heritage. Schools must teach this craft to all the students as an important subject, so that they could understand Indian culture. Schools and Colleges must organize workshops or seminars and create some groups that could promote this art inside the schools as well as outside. People must keep these Handicraft materials in their homes in order to decorate their houses as well as teach children about the ancient arts. Moreover, learning this art could help people to earn and live a better life. One must to try to make this art creative so that people could take interest in it. One must try to mix modern forms into this traditional art in order to make it more creative and attractive. So, we must try our best to preserve our heritage as this could contribute in the development of India.