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The India Chronicles | The Hues of Dastkar

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It is no secret that India is a treasure trove of indigenous art and craft. Every state, region, sometimes even every second town or village has its own form of language, art, craft and resulting influences on design and living. Some of these art forms and practices date back decades, even centuries. One would assume that such a precious heritage would be fiercely protected in a country as huge as India. However, the sad fact is that until a few years back, most of these crafts and the artisans who make them were languishing in obscurity and resulting poverty. Lack of awareness of these crafts in urban areas meant a lack of market - the artists had no means of promoting or marketing their talents and younger generations subsequently moved away to more lucrative forms of livelihood. As a result, several of these craft-forms either perished or have been on the brink of being lost forever, sustained only by a small minority of passionate but perishing artists.

The Dastkar movement changed this to a large extent. "Dastkar"is a Hindi word, literally meaning "crafterperson" and true to its name, it is a society of and for craftspersons. Founded in 1981, the organisation has slowly managed to put these crafts back into not just the living rooms of Indians but onto a global map. The society aims to make these craftspersons self-reliant, accountable for their own production, accounting and marketing, and in doing so, eliminates the 'middle-man' between the artist and the consumer, ensuring that all profits go directly to the artisan. One of the ways in which Dastkar promotes these arts is by organising Dastkar Melas or fairs in cities across India. I've been a regular visitor to the one in Delhi over the years, but a couple of weekends back I accidentally walked into the Dastkar Fair in Bangalore, much to my delight.

Could the Flaneuse waste this opportunity? No chance! I present to you some of the hues of Dastkar.

The hues of Dastkar

The hues of Dastkar

The hues of Dastkar

The hues of Dastkar

The hues of Dastkar

The hues of Dastkar

The hues of Dastkar

The hues of Dastkar

The hues of Dastkar

The hues of Dastkar

I urge you to discover the rest for yourself the next time Dastkar is in your city. These artists deserve it.

9 comments so far:

G Sinha said...

Beautiful! the colors are so vibrant! where did u catch this one?

ra said...

Lovely. Always loved their melas

David Raphael Israel said...


SloganMurugan said...

Was this from the exhibition at Palace Grounds? Very colourful!

Flaneurbanite said...

G Sinha: Thank you! This was in Bangalore - literally stumbled upon it a couple of weekends back.

ra: Thanks. I've been a fan of Dastkar melas too...wasn't a single year when I lived in Delhi that I didn't visit it in Dilli Haat. It was a delight to catch it in Bangalore, just by chance :)

David: Thanks! And thanks for visiting.

SloMo: Yes it was! We'd gone to check out the Bangalore Palace on a whim and came back loaded with impulsive Dastkar shopping :)

SD (Aspherical) said...

The shot umbrella is a stand-out - such lovely colors. However, the last photo is excellent, the colors are stunning and the far away look in the woman's eyes and her expression were perfectly captured.

jyothy karat said...

lovely colours!! missed it.. damn!

enterrement-de-vie-de-jeune-fille said...

belles photos qui donnent envie de voyager

Pradeep said...

lovely photos!

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