Handicraft is the activity of creating decorative and functional items by hand. Craftspeople or artisans are individuals who produce handicrafts. They use manual labor to create handicraft products. There are numerous types of handicrafts in India that are categorized based on the type of materials used, the kind of work performed to create the product, the purpose it (the product) serves (i.e. accessories, décor, fashion, functional, etc.), and what people (E.g. tribal people) from which state/region make the products. 

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Handicraft Map of India _©http://www.jhea.in/indian-handicraft-industry

India’s Intangible Cultural Heritage – The Handicraft Industry 

A practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill that is recognized to be a part of a place’s cultural history and is known as an Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). The intellectual wealth that is not tangible, such as folklore, customs, beliefs, traditions, knowledge, and language, is part of ICH (UNESCO).

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Indian Handicraft Products _©https://www.impexperts.com/blog/handicraft-export-from-india/

India is a nation with a storied past and numerous cultural customs. Handicrafts are a significant means of preserving the rich traditional art, heritage, and culture, as well as the traditional knowledge and abilities connected to people’s way of life and history. Handicrafts are an extensive representation of a region or nation’s history and culture. The rich traditional art forms and heritage, as well as the skills connected to the people’s history and way of life, are embedded and preserved through handicrafts. The apex of India’s wide cultural diversity and rich legacy are its handicrafts. Indian artists create works of art that are carved into forms that can be passed down to future generations while preserving the heritage of their homeland, culture, and mythologies.

Traditions are strongly rooted in society and are perpetuated through handicrafts. The art of handicraft making is a way of storytelling. Craftspeople incorporate elements of the cultural heritage—ideas, forms, materials, and methods of production—as well as their own beliefs, principles, sense of style, and soul into their finished products. Craftspeople also referred to as local artisans, have technical knowledge of materials and methods of production. They are highly trained professionals whose field of work requires manual dexterity. They mostly employ their manual skills and labor-power strategies. The amount of implied data in handiwork expands yearly, along with skills. 

It is important to inspire the younger generations to learn these native crafts as a fun co-curricular activity or workshop. People will feel more anchored in their culture and proud to be a part of it because of this. As a result, the crafts and traditional practices will positively advance among future generations. 

The Handicraft Industry – Today

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India’s Handicraft Export Market _©https://www.epch.in/

Today India is a significant manufacturer and exporter of handicrafts worldwide. There are almost 35,000 products available in the nation’s 744 handicraft clusters, which employ nearly 212,000 craftspeople. Among the principal clusters are Surat, Bareilly, Varanasi, Agra, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Chennai, and Mumbai. There is sizable market potential in all Indian cities as well as abroad, but the majority of industrial facilities are in rural and small towns.

The expansion of the Indian market is being supported by significant improvements in the accessibility of handicraft products on numerous internet portals. The demand for handicrafts is rising as the nation’s travel and tourism sectors expand. Tourists spend a meaningful amount of money on souvenirs and other handmade goods, which increases the chance for regional craftsmen and crafters to create and market useful handicrafts. In addition, growing demand from the gifting sector and expanding desire for handmade décor pieces in homes, businesses, and restaurants are boosting the market growth. With cheap capital expenditure, a high value-addition ratio, and strong export potential, the sector is commercially feasible.

Why We Must Support Handicraft Industries?

  • The handicraft industry is large and crucial to the economy of the nation.
  • While conserving the nation’s cultural legacy, it employs a large portion of artisans in rural and semi-urban areas and earns significant foreign exchange.
  • Handicrafts have enormous potential since they are essential to supporting both the millions of artisans who already exist in the country and the growing number of newcomers who are joining the crafts industry.
  • The handicraft industry is an important source of income for rural areas, employing over six million craftspeople, many of whom are women and members of the socially disadvantaged.
  • Currently, handicrafts provide a significant contribution to exports and the generation of employment.
  • Every handmade item has a tale to tell about the artisan’s inspiration or enthusiasm for making it.
  • Due to the diversity of cultures, there is a wide range and variety of products available.
  • The most alluring quality of handicraft goods is that they are environmentally friendly.
  • To help the communities that are dependant entirely on this work of art for a living, and appreciate, cherish, and celebrate distinct cultures.

    A Handicraft Community _©https://garhwalpost.in/handicraft-made-by-tharu-community-finds-popularity/

Indian handicrafts are the embodiment of the country’s rich tradition and diverse culture. The Indian artists bring forth a lineage of their land, culture, and mythology, and design their distinctive art into manifestations that can be passed down to future generations through wonderfully elaborate designs. Today, the Indian handicraft sector has emerged as a critical economic actor, transforming the lives of millions of people throughout the country. As proud and responsible citizens of an incredible nation, it is only fair to learn, preserve, propagate, and celebrate diverse craft forms.


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