ISSUES AND CHALLENGES OF ARTISANS IN HIMACHAL PRADESH
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Himachal Pradesh has a rich tradition of art and craft. In majority of craftworks the rural women and men usually engage as artisans and augment their livelihood as part of monetized and non-monetized ...
Himachal Pradesh has a rich tradition of art and craft. In majority of craftworks the rural women and men usually engage as artisans and augment their livelihood as part of monetized and non-monetized economics of the artefacts. In contemporary era, the mountain artisans have been facing a plethora of problems, issues and challenges. The young and new generatins do not prefer practicing the ancestral profession; thus only 30% population of artisan communities is engaged in family profession. Several artisan communities such as Julahas, Kolis, Barde, Lohars, etc. have given up their ancestral professions as a result of complex social, economic and political developments. Those who still survive in art and craft productions face the problems related to raw material, institutional support, legal framework, market space, access to capital, technology improvement and social recognition. Additionally, the governments – central or provincial – do not have policies supporting the artisans; and various legislations restrict the artisans to access the raw materials, production spaces, market opportunities and storage &transport facilities. The artisans rarely get benefits of insurance, cooperative societies, labour unions, health facilities, subsidy schemes, compensation schemes, skill upgradation, credit facilities, and so on. As a result, the artisans are reduced to the status of labourers and hence they generally migrate to places like Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Delhi, etc. Therefore, in absence of social, economic and political environments enabling the artisans to survive, the cultural treasure of Himachal Pradesh is erosing fast coupled with no efforts of preservation, revitalization and perpetuation. This paper is an outcome of an empirical study conducted by Grassroots Institute in association of local NGOs in 2008-09 on artisans of 7 districts by using research tools of questionnaire, semi-structured interview, observation and photography.
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