Why Are Handicraft Artisans More Important Than Ever Before?
Sustainable development and preservation of our environment focuses on the “Three R s” – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The goal of these “Three R s” is to minimize waste and conserve natural resources. Our handicraft sector has the potential to play a crucial role in achieving this and thereby redefining our future, an apocalyptic alternative now having been presented by the pandemic.
Using natural materials and processes helps reduce the carbon footprint. Our skilled Indian handicraft artisans possess a wealth of talent and have for generations used natural resources to create handicrafts that are indigenous and based on traditional expertise. The designs are unique and showcase the community’s cultural diversity. They do not require sophisticated and expensive technology for manufacture. Added to that is the participation of women in the production process and therefore the consequent ability to diversify sources of household incomes.
The handicraft sector is the second largest unorganized sector in India and a major source of income for rural communities. Artisans and their ecosystem play an essential role in achieving long-term socio economic benefits crucial to sustainable development. The distress of this sector in the COVID-19 lockdown and the plight of our handicraft artisans who are currently battling a plethora of shocks like cancelled exhibitions, orders put on hold and lost ability to repay loan have led many to the brink of penury. In very short order, unless the Government announces relief measures including financial aid for these artisans, many will be driven to starvation and we will risk losing our artisanal heritage.