Throughout the great Indian peninsula woodcarving of the most luxurious kind has been continuously produced for many centuries. The ancient Hindu temples were decorated with doors, ceilings and various fittings carved in teak and other woods with patterns of extreme richness and minute elaboration.
The gradual disappearance of the individual artist, like wood work, can never flourish without the support of the government.
The industry in Punjab is in the grip of crisis. Punjab's industry minister Anil Joshi once called the state as "Manchester of Punjab". That tag is vanishing fast. The status of small industries and skilled art can be well imagined. The story of Sonu, wood decorator is just variation of an increasing familiar theme.
The art of ornamenting, decorating, adorning or embellishing on wood is too vanishing fast and the people in this profession are becoming victim of short of its lovers and slum in the market. With the result, the art is vanishing slowly.
Certain artisans of wood work are leaving this profession because of wrong policies of the government.
Now there is a need to recognize the art of ornamenting on wood so that such skilled workers too could earn from their inherited profession and save it from dying.
One such skilled worker, Sonu, 23 years, hailing from a small town Abohar in Punjab, whose father died at the age of 12, adopted the inherited profession of ornamenting on wood.
He says, "Because of poverty, I left the education in 10th class and thought of continuing the old traditional profession of ornamenting on wood of his father after his death and he started work on doors and window panes of the houses."
No subsidies and facilities are being provided by the governments from time to time for the skilled workers like me working on decorated wood work. None of the political leaders has ever thought about this.
The instruments required for engraving on wood are not available in Punjab state which he has to arrange at his own level from Rajasthan, Jaipur, Saharanpur and Bengal. He has, however, made certain tools at his own by giving shape to the iron rods.
Disappointed over the return of the art, he said, "Despite working for 12 to 16 hours a day, he is earning too much from this profession due to machine era."
Because of his love, passion and hobby towards the wood art work to save the culture of the country, he is continuing with the profession and from time to time, his friends and relatives are helping him morally and financially.
He shared that in this machine and technical age, the number of lovers for decorated wood work are also decreasing with the passage of time. But, in Rajasthan still there are butterfly for wood and its decorating art. He too is dedicated to his profession and prepares different designs of wood work.
He holds responsible the different attitude towards culture in Punjab which is snatching the art work from the skilled workers like him.
In a choked voice, he said, the western culture over powering the new generation would be responsible for vanishing of the wood art.
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