Sweta Kumari: Handcrafted products have a bright future

A person sat behind a collection of hand-crafted goods

Handicraft: The art of making the items and crafts by hand remains a trademark of every single civilization; this is a nice amalgamation of technical expertise and creativity. The latest years, however, witnessed a rise in the awareness of people towards the craft sector due to their cultural and economical value. The traditional crafts are a constant reminder of a slow and green life being part of our culture. This has become one of the leading employment creators and accounts for a substantial stake in the country’s exports. The traditional handicrafts have evolved with time.

Handicrafts in India have been widely influenced by the religious beliefs, customs and traditions. They have evolved and adapted quite nicely from ancient to medieval to modern eras. The craftsmen in India with change in political scenario of pre-British Era, the British Rule Era and the Post-independence Era have adopted and embraced the foreign techniques of craftsmanship to further carve their creativity and skills. The policies of pre-independence and with the decline of patrons like Princely states meant that local artisans suffered major setbacks which still exist to certain extent.

After India got independence, the plight of artisans and craftsmen was taken into accord and various measures were taken to improve their condition and preserve the traditions. The measures resulted in creating awareness among the public about the handmade Indian goods and the importance of its art and culture. Today’s consumer is ready to explore the issues of fashion and talking about sustainability of manufacturing process. We all need to look at the triple bottom line in business relating to ‘people, profit, and planet’.

There are only opportunities, no doubts. The 'new age' believes in eco-friendly products which are locally crafted, which defines different cultures. With the boom of digital era numerous possibilities have opened up for the artisans and their talents, who can place their products on social media platforms to be viewed and appreciated by the people around the globe. It helps them contact customers all over the world, and their children have helped them recognise that computer knowledge can help in their selling. The downside is that small craftspeople can have major language problems (for example, not everyone communicates in English), and face tough competition selling online from the bigger online companies like Amazon.