Crafts and crafts people have a vital role to play in contemporary India – not just as a part of its cultural and aesthetic past, but also as a part of its economic future. Dastkar is an NGO for crafts and craftspeople that aims at improving the economic status of craftspeople, thereby promoting the survival of traditional crafts. It functions on a limited budget from grants and donations. In order to hold the Bazaars and exhibitions regularly, Dastkar needs to be as creative as the crafts people it supports owing to the unavailability and high rentals of suitable locations. Dastkar Mela represents a wide range of crafts, traditions and styles with the objective of making craftspeople self-reliant, independent of both the commercial middlemen and of organizations like Dastkar, by allowing them to market and sell contemporary products directly, and not simply subsist through subsidized craft.
The Dastkar fair was held in Delhi on 20th September 2013 at Kisaanhaat, Andheria Mod. We the students of G D Goenka School of Fashion and Design attended the fair. We left the campus at 11.30 am. The bus ride was great fun with everyone playing games and clicking photographs.We reached the venue by 1:30 pm. There was a big hoarding at the entrance which said ‘Nature Bazaar’. All the students were very excited to see the fair which was all about different products made from waste material and making the best use of fabrics.
At the Dastkar Green Mela, we observed the beauty of furniture, decorative and gift items made from humble clay, plant fibers, cane and wood. We saw organic cotton and wool weaves complemented by bags and accessories in Banana, Jute and Khus. We were also updated about health benefits of chemical-free products based on traditional ingredients and ancestral knowledge like herbal scrubs, oils and soaps, fertilized plants etc. Organic honey, teas, pulses and preserves, pottery, plants and flowers were also available.
After finishing one round of the fair, we made our way towards the food court that offered a special selection of healthy food and snacks as well as traditional thirst-quenching drinks such as butter milk, and fruit juices. Much to our surprise the food court was equally fun and informative.We were told by our teachers how we could make use of glasses made of clay. The teachers also educated us in different facts about different materials. After refreshments we resumed our visit to the other stalls.
The most creative product that we came across was the painted telephone. We were really surprised to learn that one can use colours in such a way. Many other stalls displayed the use of paper in a creative way. We also saw many products related to science. One of them was a kaleidoscope. Many of us recalled our childhood memories when we used to study about kaleidoscopes in our science textbooks. We were also told how they are important in our current course.
The visit came to an end at 3:30 pm. Students were really thankful to the teachers for arranging such an enriching educational visit. The fair not only enhanced our knowledge but also gave us many new ideas to explore in the future.