Is COVID 19 Has Worsen The Situation of Indian Artisans & Weavers?
ABOUT ARTISANS AND WEAVERS OF INDIA
Artisans are the ones who produce artisanal products, either completely by hand, tools or even mechanical means; these are mostly produced out of raw materials from sustainable resources. Artisanal creation is something to admire for because of their utility, art, and creativity.
India is a land of diversity, villages, along with a treasure trove of arts and crafts. With each passing kilometre, you’ll find a variety of heritage it has gathered through centuries of existence.
The artisans and weavers from villages of the country have their own social lives and are the most hardworking, they are spread throughout the country. The rural segment accounts for 76.5% artisans.
More than 58% of the artisans earn their livelihood either fully or partially through textiles, including yarns of cotton, jute, wool, and Mesta. The females in almost every rural household create embroidery work by hand, but the commercial participation of the craft is limited, Artisans engaged in the manufacture of woollen and silk carpets by hand are 18.52%. The cane and bamboo artisans account for 12.49% of total handicraft artisans.
ARTISANS SOCIAL STATUS AND INCOME
The artisans classified by social status are Scheduled castes (SC) 23%, Scheduled tribes (ST) 11%, other backward castes (OBC) 30%, and rest others 36%.
Their households mainly have male earning members, husbands and fathers are the only earning member in the artisan families. Income plays an important role in running the families; according to a speculated data 40% of artisan families have the income between INR 1,000-3,000 and INR 3,000-5,000 per month.
But as soon as they get skilled and learned, the income is improved and they start earning between INR 5,000-10,000. Unlike earlier, today the women from artisan families are coming forward and are engaging themselves in self-employment which is further improving their financial conditions.
HOW ARE ARTISANS PASSING CRAFT FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION?
7 million Indians are artisans and weavers; they still depend on Indigenous modes of production, traditional techniques and skills to make a living based on sustainability and handmade products. These artisans are the backbone of the Indian fashion industry and also of the non-farm rural economy.
There are several Indian fashion designer houses utilising hand made products and celebrated craft-based fashion business such as FabIndia and Anokhi.
With time and fashion world moving faster the artisans also decided to shift to urban centres in search of more money and respect.
The private sector has played a major role in uplifting artisans through market made by retail chains, appointing them in factories, working under high -end fashion designers and social businesses.
The heritage and craft of Indian artisans date back to 5000 years; from Punjab to Rajasthan every state has its own authenticity. The craft these artisans create takes months or years of painstaking efforts; they pass their skills from one generation to another. This passing of the craft is one of the key reasons that every region acquired its distinctive art forms.
How Artisan’s Craft is still kept alive and going?
With increasing technology, traditional art is fading away. Indian artisans are now working for other designers. Many top designers are using the talent of these artisans for their brands. The artisans are the main heroes of the couture collection at mega fashion weeks and shows.
Several organizations and NGOs in India are helping the artisans to keep their art alive. The government too is promoting the dying art of the Indian artisans to keep their traditional craft on go. NGOs are taking several initiatives to help the artisans in selling their products across the country and are also providing them with a platform to showcase their talent in other countries too.
CURRENT CONDITION OF WEAVERS AND ARTISANS IN INDIA
As more and more awareness is being made and spread about the indigenous fashion of India through the digital platforms and with fashion designers reaching out to global buyers, the artisans and weavers of India finally saw some support in keeping the dying art alive, but the recent pandemic has made the situation critical for them as the work and orders have been put on hold and the skilled population that lives on the earnings of everyday work are sitting at home, next to their tools without any order or work in hand.
HOW HAS THE OUTBREAK CHANGED DYNAMICS FOR ARTISANS & WEAVERS?
As the pandemic spreads from Wuhan in China to the world, no one anticipated its enormous impacts on lives. The virus is declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, and in India, fashion shows have been postponed, including the Autumn Winter 2020 season of Lotus Makeup India Fashion Week.
Many other shows have also been cancelled and postponed the real impact of the crisis is witnessed on the craft and handloom sector.
Self-employed weavers and artisans are dependent on seasonal retail sales and direct orders; they have received huge blows with the outbreak of the virus.
Weavers and artisans face a plethora of issues, from possible cancellations of orders to lack of awareness about the disease.
Ever since COVID-19 has hit the country many daily wage workers, artisans, weavers and people from other unorganized sector have lost their jobs. The Fashion Industry is no exception, as the small vendors, artisans and weavers associated with big Fashion Brands have been unemployed due to the lockdown in the country. But Indian Designers are not leaving their employees alone in this pandemic situation. Fashion houses of Anita Dongre, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Torani have come forward to help their employees.
The Indian fashion industry is proud of its rich tapestry of heritage crafts and highly skilled artisans and weavers. There are still thousands of weavers across the country who struggles to market their designs to the industry, but I Knock Fashion celebrates all the weavers and artisans of India. The world stands united against the outbreak of Coronavirus and hopes the Indian fashion industry further takes initiatives to help their daily workers and weavers in this crisis situation