“God gave them hands, so they created handicrafts …! “
Not only does crafting come before housework in the dictionary , but also in the lives of these women of rural areas of West Bengal . These women strive to secure a livelihood & support their families.
These women have made an effort to be benefited by applying their cultural knowledge andartistic skill set to create artworks of traditional significance. They practice Madurkathi (madur:mat weaving), Pattachitra, cloth-based scroll painting which have intricate details as well as mythological narratives and folktales inscribed in it ) and Sitalpati, (Mats with decorative designs which feel cold by nature.)
Women are endowed with aesthetic acumen and have innate skills for crafts and arts.
Rural women of these villages weave beautiful products from bamboo frames and grass weeds. These raw materials are sourced locally and play a larger ecological role in protecting ecosystems and prevents land degradation.
Commonly used home decor products are made up of materials such as plastic, glass, metal and thermocol .These raw materials consume huge amount of energies to get converted into products and end up as trash after few years of usage. These hardworking women however put in weeks and months of their time to create and curate various diversified products which include table runners, mats, hats , and purses. Hence, these women of rural India are not only contributing to rural transformation, but also towards building a rich cultural capital.
They have harnessed their cultural assets and creativity together, to craft a livelihood for themselves just from a modest setting and kept their heritage alive. They have also restored environmental ethics which is the need of the hour in this nation. However, majority of these craft productions remain unorganized and informal with its full market potential untapped. This is a beautiful example of how women closely connect with nature, and use its resources to create cultural artefacts and products of wonderment.
There is no reason why tribal and rural women in India have to live on the fringes and be one among the millions of faceless poor in the country. All they really need is an enabling and stimulating environment and the right platform to live up to their true potential.
We must support, encourage and help these women to sustain entrepreneurship by taking these artistic conceptions from the rural to the urban homes and wardrobes.
Drafted by : Vanshika Kumar .