Handicrafts’ cultural and religious significance

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By : Devika Gurung

Handicraft is a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. It is a traditional main sector of craft. Usually the term is applied to traditional means of making goods rather than by mass production or machines. Usually handicraft items are intended to be used, worn, etc. having a purpose beyond simple decoration.

Similarly in our state local handicrafts has a great significance both cultural and religious. Crafting such handicrafts is a herculean task and takes a lot of manpower. It is amazing how these local artisans turn a piece of wood into a delicate craft or a plain cloth into a resplendent painting. Every one of us is dazzled by the beauty of these handicrafts but nobody is in sport to purchase them, every body opts for non-native goods.

Despite the fact that the state government itself focuses on promotion of local handicrafts, the non-native crafts overshadow the native ones. The market is overflowing with foreign goods. Visit any gift shop it’s rare that you will find local crafts. Only a countable number of shops are fully dedicated in promoting local arts and crafts. Just turn your eyes around and you will see them everywhere; at souvenir shops, at homes, in vehicles etc.

“People both local and tourists prefer buying non local goods and there’s much profit in it”, says a shopkeeper who owns a souvenir shop at Lal Market. When asked to a local customer why she prefers purchasing the nonnative goods, she states “I buy these foreign goods because they are very colourful and attractive and it’s under my budget. Local crafts are high priced; every one cannot afford to buy them”. Not only the customers even the vendors cannot afford to display the local crafts as they are high cost.

Every body complains about the price but nobody wants to see and appreciate the hard work put behind crafting those beautiful crafts. We talk so much about preserving and universalizing our culture and heritage but if we ourselves don’t appreciate and respect what we have then nobody can help us preserve our rich heritage. So next time when you think of buying a craft or an art make sure you go for the native ones. An individual can bring about a change with true dedication and initiative.

Courtesy: Sikkim Mail



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