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Craft Museum: Living tradition of Indian Handicraft - II
Leslie V Pereira | 14 Apr 2008

The Museum has a specialized library of more than 10,000 books and periodicals pertaining to ‘Indian arts, crafts and textiles’. It is open to public for reference purposes. Under the scheme of ‘Research and Documentation’, field research is commissioned with research scholars all over India to document the living arts and crafts. Nearly a hundred unpublished monographs have resulted from this programme. The Museum also has computerized documentation of the visiting crafts persons and master crafts persons and weavers with craft-wise and area-wise categorization.

Amodest conservation laboratory looks after the preservation and conservation of the Museum’s collection. Textile repair and binding, mounting of paintings and scrolls, repair of terracottas, wooden items and maintenance of painted wood and paper mache is comfortably handled by the Laboratory.

Delhi-based schools, art colleges and polytechnics are regularly informed by the Museum about the latter’s monthly activities. Thousands of school children and students of art colleges visit the Museum for general exposure to India’s rural artistic heritage or for more practical exercises such as on-the-spot sketching and painting or participating in ‘Creativity Workshops’.

On policy an preservation side, handicrafts are ignored.Art and Handicrafts are a natural manifestation of human imagination. This imagination has remained imbibed in the generations of families who are masters craftsmen. No school or college can adopt or trained students in various art forms, but the same become very easy in the hands of master craftsmen. In a country where thousands of Universities learning center has mushroomed like retail shops who are selling commodity known as ‘education’ in today’s market. The various academies related to arts have become white elephant and behaves like a parasites on the society. A mere conference of ‘Director of Education’ spends 11 crores rupee at Jaipur but there is no reward for the teachers whose efforts won them laurels. This requires a thorough scrutiny of our ailing and failing system. In this country everything is available but without a criteria of management. The average contributions are normal craft activities like Sculpture, Paper- Mache, origami and wood work is almost absent. The schools remains closed for 2 months in summer and 1 month in winter but there is no one to teach basic aesthetic values of life for creation of handicrafts. The mushrooming universities and fly by night institution disappears regularly from the scene without an iota of criminal action by UGC or any other authority in this country. No monitoring, no vigilance, and no action everyone is entitled to make money from poor students. Out of 35 private schools from Dwarka how many have been made as institution of learning of arts and handicrafts. Same is the state of art fair in the entire country.

Infact the handicrafts in this country has not been considered as an industry at all. Even the domestic industries have never tried to create essential tools for learning various crafts and art form which are easily available in the West at a very small and nominal value. There is no development in glass industry whereas “LLADRO”, “MURANO” and “SWAROSKI” are dominating the world scene.

There is no linkage of new alloy development with handicrafts industry. Country like China are creating new alloys of Brass, Copper, Zinc which are being used in the entire world for making badges for schools, army medals and other signia for various health and medical bodies. The IT industry has destroyed our traditional art form as white collar jobs are preferred by everyone. The situation is so worst that Rakhi, Bangles, Pichkari for holi and lights for Diwali, all are being imported at throwaway prices from China. It is strange, a country which claims to be a future super power is promoting backwardness in Education but at the other hand kept the people backward in technology. The priority has now shifted to ITI but there is no promotion of art forms and handicrafts.

To be continued...