The All India Company is based on the premise that the arts have the ability to create significant non-farm employment in rural India.
One of the best things India has to offer are its handcrafted goods. These are handmade by artisans using techniques only learned from previous generations. Not only do these forms of craftsmanship inherently use sustainable processes and materials, they also generate secondary employment. What's not to love?
However, much like anything else, craftsmanship isn't taught but learned. The growing migration of artisans towards trades in search of a sustainable livelihood are the tell-tale signs of a dying industry. Unless we preserve what exists and revive what is dying, we risk losing it. These historical art forms will be lost forever unless the younger generations find a reason to take the driver's seat as the next-gen master artisan.
It is up to us to give them that reason. And it will take many of us, both companies and customers, to give them that reason.
The All India Company wants to do just that. The goal is to collaborate with artisans to revive regional craftsmanship across India, one small step at a time. The bigger dream is to build sustainable artisan communities across India. One day, amidst farm lands, there will be thriving craft conservation centers. In these pulsating communities, craftsmanship along with its history, surrounding folklore and traditions will be proudly passed on from one generation to the next. And, dare I say, perhaps some of us like-minded crazy ones will even choose to live there.
Featured photo: Kalamkari Rumal, 1670, India | Courtesy: The Met