Economic well-being of the artisans

If the craft doesn't ensure a stable economy to the families, no scheme can make it flourish
Economic well-being of the artisans
It is true that Kashmir is known for its handicrafts and the pictures of this industry are seen everywhere when the image of this place is promoted for various purposes. But the things on ground are not as inviting as the pictures appear. File/ GK

Handicrafts is not just a part of our culture, but contributes to the livelihood of a significant number of families. Though the government, time to time, formulated schemes and interventions to assist the people associated with this activity, but the economic health of the people associated with this sector has generally been unwell.

That is the reason that the families that have been into this activity for generations have left it for other economic alternatives.

It is true that Kashmir is known for its handicrafts and the pictures of this industry are seen everywhere when the image of this place is promoted for various purposes.

But the things on ground are not as inviting as the pictures appear. The condition of artisans is pathetic in most of the cases. Some odd business houses that have made name in this trade, and are economically well off, do not explain the condition of this industry.

If the government really wants to preserve various forms of handicrafts in Kashmir, it must get down to the level of the artisan; the primary beneficiary of the schemes must be the person that turns hard stuff into an artistic beauty. The established business houses in this sector should also try to ensure that the benefits of the trade trickle down to the bottom layers.

To this end the government should proactively do two things. One, ensure that there is no exploitation of the artisans who form the backbone of this activity. Two, the artisans and the market spaces are connected in a hassle free way. The bottlenecks between the two are removed and the profits from the markets are allowed to reach the families that are dependent on this art and craft. If the activity becomes economically rewarding, it will flourish itself.

The theoretical discussions about the cultural and heritage value of these crafts notwithstanding, if the activity doesn't ensure a stable economy to the families, no amount of activism can save this form of human creativity. Finally, what matters is how paying an activity is for the person who invests his life into the trade; rest is theory.

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