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Crafts of Barmer

Barmer - Thhar Galiyara

The district of Barmer is situated in the central Thar Desert of southwest Rajasthan. It has been a focal point for its traditional art, culture, handicrafts, fairs, and festivals. Dyeing and hand-printing on textiles, embroidery, jute products, woven textiles, wood-carving, etc. are some of the unique handicrafts found in Barmer and have made Barmer achieve a rich reputation in the international market. Many of the crafts here have evolved to fulfill personal needs and social customs rather than catering to rural needs as is the case in other parts of the country. Now they are practiced as an economic need and livelihood option for the artisans and produced to fulfill the needs of far-flung markets and customers in India and abroad

DSC 1010 - Thhar Galiyara

The study and documentation of the handicrafts of the Barmer region commissioned by Cairn India were carried out through primary field inquiries and secondary data searches, over the period of 12 weeks, from January 2010 to March 2010. The study was commissioned to map and identify various crafts in the region and their current & potential value in the livelihoods and economic sustenance of the practicing artisans. The study was based on the premise that the crafts practice and cultural industry constitute a major part of the livelihood in the de-centralized & unorganized sector of Rajasthan. Predominantly confined to a family unit and often the key source of earnings, it is spread across the entire rural sector of the state. The Barmer region is replete with a rich pool of creative cultural expressions that form a substantive part of its means of livelihood and provides a distinctive dimension to its attraction to visitors.

While some of the crafts have been well established and known, some skills have not been explored for commerce though they form a part of local culture. These dimensions of inherent values among the local cultures are very significant in the emerging context of the larger issues of sustainability. Connecting craftspeople to the customer, as an effective and economically sustainable business process, will necessitate a multi-pronged and long-term development initiative focused largely on enhancing the performance potential of artisans at one end and market reach at the other.

The study focused on bringing this dimension of Barmer crafts with specific insights into their current status as practices, prevailing work scenario, products, processes, nature of trade & market opportunities, support & development needs, and specialized inputs to enhance the practice at all levels for better value realizations, related issues of people and business processes that will enable sustainable community enterprises for the artisan communities. Such research educates about the heritage of the craft, appreciation of its subtle nuances, and preservation.