The Indus Valley Civilization has been proven to be one of the oldest in the world and when archaeologists first started their excavations, there was plenty that was uncovered. Some of what was uncovered can only be described as the first art and craft of India perhaps – there were idols and figurines of humans and animals and the craftsmanship on them was incredible. Over the several years that followed the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization, there was constant development in the field of arts and crafts. In each part of the country, there was a new form that was developing and thriving – if the north of India was seeing the birth of Phulkari, in the west it was the tribal form of Warli, in south India incredible temples were being built and in the west, cotton was being given unseen forms.

Here’s Why We Can’t Let The Arts And Crafts Of India Fade Away

These forms of arts and crafts were being passed on from generation to generation – children would take pride in learning secret techniques and ancient methods from their parents and grandparents. However, with changing times, there have been changes in the world of traditional art and craft forms too.

There are several reasons why people gave up their traditional talents, that were passed down through the generations:

  • One of the most common reasons was the fact that artisans were no longer able to run their homes, based on the earnings from their handicrafts.
  • Several children refused to take up the tradition, simply because they wanted a better and perhaps more modern life for themselves.
  • It was becoming tougher to compete with the machine made large loads, such as German silver handicrafts, that were now becoming easily available.
  • Many chose to go back to their traditional arts, when there was no farming or seasonal jobs.
If you were to take into account the unique arts and crafts of India, there would be close to 3000 of them, some of them dating back several centuries. The people practising many of these forms had started dwindling down fast and several would have completely washed out had certain governmental and non-governmental agencies not jumped into action. If today, you are looking to buy Indian handicrafts online it is probably because someone has taken the effort to bring them to the modern world. At eCraftIndia, we strive to provide an umbrella for a wide range of artisans and craftspeople – with us, they can practise their craft and trade and we help them by providing them with a platform, where they can sell their wares.

There are several forms of arts and crafts that are native to India and cannot be found anywhere else and although there are some that are still around, there are many that have completely disappeared. In order to keep these art and craft forms alive, there is much that needs to be done and the action needs to be taken both by the buyer and the seller.
  • For starters, the creators/artisans need to understand what it is that the buyer wants and try to adapt in accordance. Let’s say, a particular craftsman has brass handicrafts to offer, but the client wants handicrafts that serve a purpose; so it is up to the artisan to create something that will entice the customer to buy and perhaps spread the word about what the artisan has on offer.
  • At the end of the day, it is not about selling pieces in the tens or twenties; every artisan should be aiming to sell in the hundreds and thousands, and in today’s world, this means the artisans need to understand how the market functions and what new age promotion strategies include. This is where stores like ours come into action – we not only help artisans take their wares to a global platform, we also help them plan out the right way to sell and earn genuine profits.
  • There has to be a general attempt to enlighten the buying public about the merits of buying locally – be Indian and buy Indian is just one part of the campaign; as an Indian, you should be looking to showcase local talents on international stages. So rather than looking to buy metal handicrafts from some Middle Eastern country, why not consider something that is made in Uttar Pradesh?

So what are the ways in which the traditional arts and crafts of India can be protected and given a chance to thrive once again? Here are just some ideas:

  • For a greater number of times, customers are more inclined to buy, when they have a better understanding of what they are buying. Given an opportunity wherein there is a chance for the creators and customers, the chances of actual sales happening is much larger. ECraftIndia happens to be one such place – artisans can showcase their talent and customers have a chance to leave feedback.
  • While there are those who love the antique and old time designs, there are many who want a combination of old and new. They look for handicraft items online that look traditional, but have a slightly bohemian and modern day flair to them. Artisans should be willing to add the modern touch to their traditional talents and give customers what they are willing to pay for.
  • The craft sector is actually the second largest method of employment in rural India, because when there is no work for seasonal farmers, this becomes a method to make a living. Training can be imparted to such people and suitable platforms can be provided to them, to make and sell what they create.
  • Art and crafts are a great way to employ women – they can work from the comfort of their homes or nearby community centres. Most of these works are not time dependent, which means that they can choose their working hours and it also allows them the chance to take care of their families and other responsibilities.
  • Even though these products might be traditional in their origin, the approach to selling them needs to be modernised and revolutionised. This means that anyone looking to buy home decoration items online should have access to all these nouveau traditional options too.
  • Modern day selling needs to be introduced – products need to be available online, they should be selling out of malls, superstores, and even at airport stores. If it is a place that the modern day shopper shops at, the products need to be made available there.
  • At eCraftIndia, we offer options for bulk and corporate gifting and this is something that is almost the need of the hour – when there is a larger demand, it is an impetus to the artisans.
In the last decade or so, there have been genuine attempts to bring back dying arts and crafts to life – from changing the way retail markets accept and sell these handicrafts to using modern marketing methods. And instead of people opting for Chinese products that are nothing more than substandard and cheap copies, why not lend a helping hand to the truly talented artisans and craftspeople of our country. So the next time you reach out for papier-mache handicrafts that were made in some sweatshop in some distant country, why not look at something made in Kashmir!