Sailing through various phases in my life , I had opportunities of buying the Guccis and the Pradas of the world for my everyday living and lifestyle showcasing moments . But these purchases didn’t hold a lifetime lasting effect in my life , as most of them were impulse shopping results or a bandwagon gesture to the brand slaves .

“Daroonjinish!” , which started as a concept of purchasing art and craft work from artisans , while i was going through the small towns and villages of West Bengal . I stopped by these towns , and had the privilege to meet and greet lovely artisans , who were masters in their own lives for handwoven and handmade products such as traditional basketry , terracotta products , Dhokra Shilp , Pattachitra Paintings and much more.

In these towns of artisans, not all days are equally promising. An artisan may or may not get picked up for work. “When there is no work,” a migrant says, “we get drunk and sleep.” . Everybody living in these villages, have a common story. The stories are similar: a failed groundnut crop, thanks to a lack of rain, a proliferation of bore wells, and the government’s failure to compensate them for their losses.  Besides increasing debts and unavailability of/ or no payment for, work for many weeks make things worse.

The people living on the streets of these villages , face different kinds of problems: mosquitoes, electricity failures, scarcity of medical help and such . “But you don’t get sick when they bite you,” says 64-year-old Bhadranath. For others, it takes alcohol to overcome the mosquitoes, hunger and the humid Bengal weather, and fall asleep.

Another case study – A potter named Shukanto from Bankura district of West Bengal , specialized in making red terracotta horses. These horses are later sold to agents, who buy them for a pittance, only to mark them up in the big bazaars of Kolkata, Durgapur, Mumbai and even Delhi. But Shukanto only makes, at the end of the month, Rs. 5,000.

‘If the women ask for more wages, they can lose their jobs, since others are willing to work at lesser rates. They are sometimes given stale food..- Lady Artisan “

It is at this stage , when I took this up as a venture – promoting work , art and craft and means of livelihood for these beautiful artisans . Each and every product of Daroonjinish , has in mind the voices and talents of these beautiful artisans , screaming out loud for visibility , better living conditions and wider global acceptance and audience!

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Written by : Poonam Sheth