Friday, August 2, 2019
Exports and Revival of Chickankari
Exports Generally considered a cottage industry, Indian Chikankari Industry has outgrown its image to evolve into a rapid growing industry with a turnover from US $ 1. 2 million to US$ 1. 9 billion in the last decade. There has been a consistent annual growth rate of more than 15 per cent over a 10-year period, from 3. 6% to a respectable 10% share in global embroidery exports. In 2008-2009, the exports of Indian handicrafts has shown an increase of US$ 298. 87 million, i. e. the exports increases by 10. 02% over the similar period during 2008-2009.The industry is expected to triple its export turnover to Rs. 39,000 crore by 2009-10 that in turn will also create around 2 lakh new job opportunities. Revival The industrial revolution and the increasing productivity had slowed down the growth and the quality of arts and crafts, but for some decades now, the scenario has changed and machine-made products no longer attract the people. Presently handicrafts are being considered as vocation al media and it is also opted for style statement and the leisure pursuit.Today, the crafts and craftspeople have a vital role to play in modern India Ã¢â¬â not just as part of its cultural and tradition, but as part of its economic future. The children in front of their small dingy houses play in the dust, and fight and cry through the day. But their noise hardly deters the women from stitching delicate designs on sarees, kurta pyjama, salwar kameez, shirts, bed-sheets, pillow covers, cushion covers, etc. Love for stitching It is their love for stitching which keeps the rich chikankari tradition alive in the culturally vibrant city of Lucknow. Around 2. lakh chikankari artisans in Lucknow and nearby Malihabad, Kakori, Unao, Bilagram, Alam Nagar, Bijnaur and Bilaspura villages earn Rs 15 to Rs 50 a day from chikankari work. Chikankari exports fetch more than $12. 5 million a year for the State and supports a million people in the entire supply chain.Though there is huge demand fo r chikankari work in the domestic and international markets, maintaining the craft's popularity is becoming a big problem. Large-scale mechanisation, entry of similar embroidery works from neighbouring countries, influence of middlemen and the disinterestedness of enior artisans caste a gloom on the craft's future. Senior artisans do not get the price they deserve. The growing societal indifference to aesthetic craft, aggressive consumerism and increasing influence of middlemen in the trade have eroded much of the skill and artistry Ã¢â¬â many fine chikankari stitching techniques such as kaudi, jodapati, dhumkipati, khjur ki pati, double bakhia, rahejka jakha and gol murri have almost disappeared. Gone are the days when senior chikankari artisans won accolades in the courts of kings and nawabs.It is believed the Moghul queen Noor Jahan was the creator of chikankari work. In fact, the origin of chikankari work goes beyond the medieval period. Greek traveller Megasthenes mentions a bout Indians making fine embroidery work on muslin cloth in 3 BC. In three phases The exotic chikankari work is made in three phases. The artisan first imagines the motifs of different flowers, creepers, birds, animals, geometric shapes, etc. Then the wooden blocks of the motifs are prepared to make an imprint on the cloth base.The artisans then blend different stitching techniques to instil life into those motifs which are then stitched on cotton, silk, georgette, chiffon and other fabrics. Images of Taj Mahal, temples, mosques, and so on, are woven on clothes with amazing dexterity. The State's handicraft department also provides computer-generated designs to artisans. Though there is no dearth of designs and innovation there is a shortage of skilled workers. Today, there are more daily wagers than real artists in Lucknow.Naseem Bano, the national award winner from Lucknow, still preserves the skill of making anokhi chikan which is known only to a few artisans in Lucknow. The arti san combines morie, kali and keherki stitching to make the subject look as if it is painted with a fine brush. It is believed the famous chikankari artisan Hasan Mirza had created anokhi chikan in the 1960s. Anokhi and other fine chikan work were as costly as gold in the western and European market. The skill and artistry of the chikankari craft must be preserved, as it has the potential to generate revenue and employment on a sustainable basis.