In March 2006 a Round Table Meeting was convened, by the Craft Revival Trust to focus on the plight faced by weavers in Varanasi due to the impact of Chinese “Benares brocade saris” imported at a fraction of local prices. A movement, spearheaded by Ashoke Chatterjee, Former President, Crafts Council of India and coordinated by Craft Revival Trust, was then initiated to consider what response might be possible for the future of craft communities and their values caught in this latest expression of the free trade regime.
To understand the problem read Prof. Chatterjee’s articles. Also read responses, opinions expressed along with possible solutions. We include a list of persons and NGOs who offered their support.
The initiative has continued and gathered momentum and the ripples are being felt in mass media, both print and electronic.
In April 2007 the Second Round Table Discussion on the crisis was held by the Craft Revival Trust and AIACA to table and discuss AIACA's case study on the Varanasi Weaving Cluster titled: "Varanasi Handloom Cluster: Globalization and the Indigenous Artisan Economy", the study sought to combine the views of the local weavers and other stakeholders with data collected from various sources to spur more informed discussion on potential solutions to the crisis. The study was conducted by Nesar Ahmad, a PHD scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
A brief abstract is available here. The full report can be obtained by emailing AIACA at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Participate in the brainstorming, send us your feedback (follow the Mail Us link) This problem is not going to vanish. Indeed, it will reappear time and again. It is time we acquire some ability to understand and address it.