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Artisans Alliance of Jawaja Leather Association


2017, Publication of Student Document for private circulation only. Craft Cluster, Master of Design, 2016-2017 Batch. Published at: National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi-110016. Cover Page: Product Photographs, 100% Handmade @ Jawaja Leather Association. All Rights Reserved. No Part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system. National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi.


Study and survey of the Craft and Documentation

Name of the Students:

Atul Kumar Verma

Lakshmi Surya Priyanshi Tater Sanchita Verma Shivangi Rastogi Tripti Gupta Uzma Ansari NIFT, New Delhi Copy right @National Institute of Fashion Technology, 2017 All rights reserved: no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any form by means of electronic, mechanical, photo copying, recording or otherwise without prior permission from National Institute Fashion Technology, except by a review/reader who wishes to quote brief passage in connection with a paper review/essay written for inclusion in a periodical, newspaper or broadcast.

Faculty guide/Mentor (s):--------------------------------------------



This Project Report has been prepared in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Module: Craft Studies of Course Masters in Design Space (Semester 2) for the academic year 2016-2018. For preparing the Project Report, we have visited Jawaja block in Ajmer district district, Rajasthan to study the Jawaja cluster working on leather products . The period of visit was 7 days. The aim of this visit was to gather primary data on Jawaja leather. The blend of learning and knowledge acquired during our practical studies at the cluster is presented in this Project Report. The rationale behind visiting the Jawaja leather and preparing a document is to study the history, evolution, the process of Jawaja leather, employment, partnership with other associations, product line etc. The aim was to gain insight into the lifestyle of the artisans in association with their work life. The document Report starts with the basic concepts of Jawaja in terms of its regional location and demographics, it’s history followed by the processes and also covers the general information Jawaja Leather association. The information presented in the report is obtained from secondary and primary data. Visiting the cluster helped us enhance our knowledge about the lifestyle of the artisans working in Jawaja and their work life. It made us understand the craft thoroughly.



Upon completion of our document, we would like to express our gratitude to all those who have been associated with this project and have throughout extended their support and guidance. First of all, we would like to thank Mohammad Suhail and Ms. Kavita Yadav, faculty members at the department of Masters of design space, NIFT Delhi for being a constant source of inspiration and providing utmost guidance in completing this project. We would also like to thank Mr. Harlal, President, Mr. Babulal, secretary and Mr. Kailash Chand, treasurer of the Jawaja Leather Association (JLA) who gave us their precious time for a visit the association and interview them. Without their participation in this research, this project would not have been possible to complete. They gave us detailed primary data for the completion of this project. We would also like to thank artisans living in Sargaon working on jawaja leather 01.

products for interviewing them. Overall the entire faculty at Master of design department has constantly supported our endeavors in completing this project and we are very grateful to them.

01. Classic bag , made at the association 5


Table of Contents Introduction....................................................................09 Partnerships....................................................................42 About Jawaja..................................................................10 Funding..........................................................................47 Lifestyle and culture.......................................................13 Product line....................................................................49 Evlution of Jawaja.........................................................14 Sustainability Analysis...................................................52 Location and Demographics..........................................17 Criteria for selection of economic activities..................53 History of jawaja............................................................18 Scope for improvement-Sustainability..........................55 About JLA......................................................................20 Waste Management........................................................59 How the association functions......................................21

Scope for improvement-Waste Management................63

Leather as material.........................................................25 Water Conservation........................................................66 Role of women................................................................27 Scope for Improvement-Water Conservation................67 Impact of Jawaja Project on the artisans’ lives............29 Peta Concerns.................................................................71 Tanning...........................................................................30 Jawaja as GI..................................................................73 Process of Tanning.........................................................32 Local Markets.................................................................75 Surface embelishment...................................................35

SWOT Analysis...............................................................76

Artisan’s profile..............................................................37 Research Findings and Conclusion..............................77 Tools and equipments....................................................39


Bag making- process......................................................41 Glossary..........................................................................79




This document is based on findings of previous researches on Jawaja Leather Assocition. Our main objective was to study the craft, understand the tools and techniques used by the craftsman at Jawaja. This study refers to the parameters and reasons that concern the living atmosphere of these crafts man. We have also focussed on intellectual property rights concers that are involved with the associaton . Since leather products involve animals, we have also focussed on animal right issues to ensure whether the laws are respected . We have done ethngraphic research on the cluster to document the craft. The methodologies that we have used are participant observation, structured questionaire and interview .

02. Sargaon village, beawar. 02.


About Jawaja Jawaja is a small town located in the district of Ajmer, 70 km towards northwest direction, and its main occupation is agriculture and leatherwork with a low literacy rate The Jawaja block covers approximately 223 villages that have population of about 2 lakhs (Census of India 2011). It is situated in the midst of a drought-prone region. Out of the total area, 58,441 hectares only one-fifth is arable. The climate is extreme. The minimum temperature in winter falls as low as 1°C and in summers it can be as high as 46°C. The average annual rainfall is only 500mm. The block is name after the headquarter village Jawaja. The village is located in the middle of the Jawaja block. The village is located in the middle of the block on the national highway linking Delhi with Bombay. Beawar, the nearest town in the periphery of the block. Currently, the town has major industries that include mineral-based units, machinebased units, machine tools and accessories, pre-stressed concrete pipes, plastic products, textiles etc.

03. Wooden bar, where hide is hung for drying 10







Lifestyle & Culture

The craftsmen belonged to the Regar community of Rajasthan.

of the local and extended community of people with knowledge

The Regar are a social group found in the states of Madhya

and ability to make particular objects by hand using relatively

Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat and mostly Rajasthan in India.

simple tools and equipment. They share cultural and traditional

The Regar community comes under scheduled caste.

qualities of attention to details, imagination, innovation and

They are spread across the region. The value of simplicity lies in

refinement to distinguish excellent craftwork. The artisans

the fact that the artisans working on Jawaja leather products rely

lived with their families. They shared a close bond with each

upon themselves rather than their tool or machinery. At the same

other and lived with a feeling of unity and togetherness. The

time, they are open to experience and adapt to the requirements

life of the artisans exemplifies particular ways of knowing and

of the moment. Insights into the Jawaja leather craft traditions

ways of being in the world. However, to sustain the continuity

reveal the anonymous nature of creation, direct perception skill

of their work and means of livelihood, an artisan requires

and discipline as integral to the creative act, form as born of right working harder. Women have played major role to support their relationship of matter to space and energy.

families by taking care of the household work and work for the association simultaneously. The entire community work really

The domain of artisans’ livelihood encompasses values and

hard on this craft to make ends meet.

sensibilities that are not only material. The artisans are a part

Inside artisan’s kitchen 13

Evolution of Jawaja Initially people of Jawaja used to make leather products (mainly shoes called mojadi) for the local market which didn't bring them much earnings. In 1975, Jawaja Leather Association (JLA) was formed which craftsmen from five main villages dealing with leather craft. The villages were -Jawaja, Beawar, Malpura, Kabra, Sakawar. Professor Ravi Matthai, first director of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, initiated Rural University: Experiments in Educational Innovation" in Jawaja. This was based on the assumption that sustained development of rural India is feasible only if it is based on people learning to be self-reliant by learning to generate their own opportunities and resources and a new concept of education rural development. Rural University team then worked with people of the Jawaja block, which included about 200 villages with a population of approximately 80,000 people. Jawaja is a region of high poverty and no resources; some people knew spinning and weaving and owned few looms. Weaving and leatherwork became the source of economic development, and later people understood relevancy of design education into this rural context. Jawaja leather association (JLA) was then formed in 1975 which brought a boom in the lives of the craftsmen as it provided several employment opportunities. This craft began to evolve after the formation of Jawaja Leather Association (JLA) and the demand for pure leather products increased in the export market.


08.Sargaon village, Beawar.





Location & Demographics

located in Beawar panchayat in Ajmer city

09. drainage just in front of artisan’s home 17

History of Jawaja Project

Even though they had some agriculture, albeit unsteady, leatherwork was the main occupation of the Regar community. • People must learn to help themselves and to help others They live in the drought prone areas around the town •







Beawar, Rajasthan. Traditionally, they have been experts opportunities and manage their affairs should be taken in the tanning of hides and making strong leather products into consideration while designing the process of learning like mojadis (shoes), saddles and harnesses for animals. •


unless Professor Ravi J. Matthai of IIM, Ahmedabad, initiated "The does


becomes learner



narrow does












else learn

Rural University: Experiments in Educational Innovation" in • Learning should enable people to work in groups, to Jawaja. It was on the assumption that sustained development understand the need for mutuality and cohesiveness, develop of rural India is feasible only if it is based on people learning to norms for group functioning, and evolve their own organization be self-reliant by learning to generate their own opportunities •








and resources. Some of the ideas underlying this approach, capabilities could be started with gainful new economic which guided the course and conduct of the Jawaja experiment, activities were mentioned by Professor Ranjit Gupta (Gupta, 1988):








We used to make Mojadis (traditional shoes from Rajasthan) and slippers that were sold locally, barely making ends meet.

Artisan from 1988.

People the

will facilitator

learn of




course but

of the

doing activities




therefore should

development not








This 300-year-old leather craft was given a new lease of life by the efforts of Ravi Matthai of IIM and Ashoke Chatterjee of NID, Ahmedabad, in 1975. The project was named as Jawaja Project. Jawaja Leather Association (JLA) was an outcome of the Rural university. Rural University taught people how to make associations and work at a macro level by bringing together several artisans and combining their skills for efficient production Jawaja Leather Association was formed, craftsmen were given training in new techniques of processing leather and designs for new products, and then, there was no looking back. Jawaja leather export 75% of the products, majorly to U.S.A. and Japan.


About Jawaja Leather Association When the association was formed as part of the Jawaja Project,

away, and younger generation didn’t chose this profession. The

there were twelve families in the association. Currently thirty-five

global recession started in 2008 affected the demand due to which

artisan families are part of the association, majorly in Sarga-

some left the profession of leather craftsmen.

on, Jawaja and Malpura village. From each family, a man and

Most of the members in Jawaja Leather association belong to

a woman work together to make products. During 2010 there

Regar community.

were about fifty-five families in the association, but the number reduced to thirty-five because some of the elder members passed


11. Shree Babu Lal Regar, Secretary, JLA. JLA office , Beawar.


How the association functions? Jawaja Leather Association is working as the marketing agency for the artisans and selling the goods on their behalf for their upliftment. It consists of the president; vice president and secretary are elected from the local artisan members from time to time. At present Shri Babu Lal is the secretary and Shri Har Lal is the President. The success of this model is best expressed in the leather artisans’ own words: “We used to make Mojadis (traditional shoes from Rajasthan) and slippers that were sold locally, barely making ends meet. We didn’t believe it when this group of urban folk approached us and told us that they could improve our livelihoods by providing us markets for different products that would help us design and make. Once we sold our first batch of bags and wallets, we vowed that we would never make Mojadis again and we are proud that we never have.” However, underlying their faith in the strength of this Alliance is a sense of worry for its future and that of their trade. The artisans spoke of younger generations not wanting to continue in the footsteps of their forefathers, of the difficulties of producing by hand, something the younger generations associate with manual labor and a lack of dignity. In doing so, they hit at the epicenter of the crisis faced by Indian handicrafts and handlooms – that they are no longer perceived as aspirational, but rather a taken for granted relic of the past. One the weaver’s words serve as an eye-opener: “When we die, so will weaving in this area.”





Leather as Material

Leather is a versatile material , that acts very differently when exposed to water. It becomes softer and pilable. Leather is natural and bio-degardable.When dried, it is hard and duable. The two main raw materials include Raw hide and bark of Babool tree. The leather used by Jawaja is mostly buffalo leather (hide). Veg tanning is an organic method relying on natural vegetable tanning from bark or other plant tissues. The raw materials are sourced from Nasirabad, Ahmedabad and Uttar Pradesh. Process dominance in units facilitates discharge, monitoring and enforcement by regulatory agencies to ensure regular satisfactory operation. The common facilities for treatment of effluents generate from tanning units.

leather swatches left to dry on a line. 12.






Role of Women

Indian leather craft is unique and has been valued since the time

colonial and ancient. Upon such appearances have entire policies

it originated. Jawaja leather craft has been passed down from

and programmes of central and state government been founded

the ancestors and the techniques which are used even now depict

since India’s independence in 1947.The preservation of craft

how much efforts are put to preserve them and that they will

matters because for many women, this is their livelihood. It is

always be cherished.

their respect and dignity, as well, so preserving the people and their lives means preserving their crafts and heritage. Much of

The shift from male craftsmen to female craftsmen from the

India’s heritage would be lost if people lost their traditional skills.

1930s onward gradually increased the number of females

These women at Jawaja work hard to keep the tradition alive and

producing the handicrafts. At present, a lot of women are

pass it to the generations to come.

working to preserve the fading traditional leather craft at Jawaja. Women at Sargaon were equally involved with their husbands

Handicraft exports from India increased by 13.5 per cent year-

and family in producing the jawaja leather products. They played

on-year during April-September 2016 to US$ 1.9 billion. And

a major role in stitching the products using the leather stripes.

Rajasthan accounts for the 10% of the handicrafts exported. This foreign exchange earnings is supported by the many of the

Besides household work, women spend spare time in crafts thus

women working at Jawaja producing leather goods.

making gender specific livelihood. Rural women of India have a very big role in their preservation,

Women working at Jawaja can support family income, which

as they work ceaselessly to manufacture eclectic leather products

thus generates a scope for women empowerment by ensuring

with great finish. Indian handicraft production based on hand

more involvement of female into family decision making process.

labour and human power gives the appearance of being pre-

13. Women artisan helping her husband[ master craftsman]. 14. Arisan’s family 15. Anklet worn by sargaon women 27



Impact of Jawaja Project on the artisans’ lives The Jawaja Project started in 1975 impacted artisan’s lives

result, this creates high productivity and efficient work discipline.

deeply. The artisans learnt problem solving skills in course of learning leather craft.This is an example of learning while

Distance from home: Since the Jawaja leather association is

doing.They learnt to take managerial role in the association that

situated at Beawar which is far from the other villages where the

promotes leadership qualities.

craftsmen reside, it is difficult for the craftsmen to commute and

Tremendous interaction between designers and craftsmen has

stay in constant touch with the association members.

helped them to develop the ability to innovate their own designs. Craftsmen participation in decision-making: If one gets to Health conditions: Health and safety are one of the most

have say in the decisions made in the work environment, it can

important factors affecting a persons’ psychological comfort.

positively affect ones’ confidence and motivate him/her to work

If the craftsman does not feel secure in the workplace or has

efficiently. Fortunately, the craftsmen have rights in the decision

any threat to his health for instance, contact with any harmful


substance or is prone to any physical injuries, this can affect the workers’ performance at the workplace thereby affecting his work. Work discipline: This forces the workers to increase productivity and maintain a peace of mind since all the work can be done in a proper way.Craftsmen at Sargaon revealed that there is work discipline because the workers coordinate with each other and they are motivated to work hard to increase the productivity. As a

16. Kids playing in streets of Sargaon, Beawar. 29

Tanning The tannery of Jawaja leather association has 12 tubs, where

Hides are stitched at the edges with a local grass, known as

hides from leather mandi (market) are brought . In leather mandi moonj and then are tanned in pits or bags using the tannin of the of beawar, the animal hides are borough majorly from few small

bark of the babul tree. Before it is used, leather is cleansed and

cities of Gujrat and some areas from Uttar Pradesh.

stretched; only then is it cut according to cardboard patterns and

After the hides are brought, it is soaked in fresh water and later

stitched with thick cotton yarn or thin leather strips

soaked in a solution of brine and the sap of a small green plant

Bark of babul tree is used as natural dyes, red in colour and is

called aakh.

being soaked in the following solution for 7-8 hours. After that

Then scraping off excess skin takes place which is called chhillai

washed in fresh water for continuing 4-5 hours to remove extra


colour then dried up and spleen oil (tilli ka tel) is applied for soft-

The hides after that are being cut with blunt knives to scrape out

ening and shin.

the first layer of hair on the skin.

Hides are put for soaking. The tubs are constructed in a low cost

Then the soaking takes place in lime water and sodium (Choona)

set up, where the water is taken out manually.

for 4 days for extracting remaining hair and dirt skin to cleanse

The solution for tanning is prepared in a sequence in which the

and remove impurities from the skin followed by soaking in

hide is supposed to be soaked.

Ammonium sulfate for 12 hours for the purpose of Removing

From processing of raw skins to the finishing of the product,

choona of lime water rest other kinds of dirt and impurities from

every process is done without the use of any machines in the

the Skin.

houses of the craftsmen. The use of new techniques considerably

Then to ripe (PAKANA) the skin, salt and Sulphuric acid solution reduced the odor of leather while it is prepared. Therefore the is used in which hides are soaked for 2-3 days until the hides are

craftsmen are able to work at their homes throughout. Raw ma-

clear from impurities. Hides are again soaked in another solution terial (locally called kachha chamda) is sourced from Nasirabad. which is made up of bark of babul tree for 3-4 days. This process

Production is order based. Buyers contact the association author-

takes place to give colour to the hides and usually takes 8-10 days ity and then they get orders. In Jawaja association fixes prices in completing.

and thus there is very less flexibility. 17. Hides just taken out from tub 18. Hides soaking 19. Hides put in water[washing] 20. Raw hides






Tanning Process Hides from leather Mandi are brought Then the soaking took place in (Choona) and in leather mandi of beawar the lime water and sodium for 4 days for animal hides are borough majorly extracting remaining hair and dirt from few small cities of Gujrat and skin to cleanse and remove impurities 21.





Pradesh. from the skin and followed by the

After the hides being brought it is soaking in Ammonium sulfate for 12 soaked in fresh water and later soaked hours for the purpose of Removing in a solution of brine and the sap choona of lime water rest other kinds of a small green plant called aakh. of dirt and impurities from the Skin. After excess

that skin


scraping which



of Then to ripe (PAKANA) the skin Salt

called and sulphuric acid solution for 2-3

(chillai) in Hindi is being placed. days and again soaked into another The hides after that are being cut solution which is made up of bark of with 22.





out babul tree for 3-4 days. And this process

the first layer of hair on the skin. usually takes 8-10 days in completing.

27. Natural and synthetic dyes- Store room 28. Wooden bar, where hides are hung for drying 29.Leather swatches drying on a line[shade checking-dyeing] 30. Raw hide

21. hides soaked in acid solution 22. closeup of acid solution 23.hides soaked in water for washing 24.Closeup of water tub 25. hides just taken dye tub. 26. Tub filed with natural dye

31. Acid for soaking leather 32.Synthetic Gloves 33.Raw hides

















Surface Embellishments

One of the most unique characteristics of Jawaja leather products is that they are hand stitched with the help of leather strips. The leather stitches have a characteristic diamond shape that adds to the understated elegance of these leather products. This is a unique Selling point for Jawaja products. Embellishments are done with leather explorations hence considered very unique to Jawaja Leather Association.

35. Closeup of a strap handmade 36. Running stitches using leather strap 37.Weaving texture 38. Weaving with sttraps as ornamentation 35

From left, Soha lal, age:48,Harlal Regar,age:66,Narsingh,age:40, Mangi Lal Regar, Age 59


Artisan’s Profile

The artisans of jawaja live in rural arts of jawaja block in Ajmer district.Most of the artisans belong to the Regar community. The artisans are an integral part of the association, they involve in key decision making.They get regular work through asociation , which has resulted a sense of financial security among the artisans. The younger generation is into education, and they are not keen to take part in the craft.They are not keen in taking leather craft as career


Tools & Equipment After that Mogri is used to hammer the skived area to flatten it for sticking purpose. 40.

A glass is used for the purpose of burnishing and fair glance of the leather. A variety of braiding and knotting techniques as well as brass rivets are used as functional and decorative joining techniques; the leather may also be cultured, glazed, punched, embossed or branded.




40. Glass bottle, for burnishing 41.Chisel in different sizes 42. Khabira, A tool made of plastic 43.Aawl, a large needle 44. Brush for touch ups 45. Sponge 46. Mogri, artisan’s hammer for folding 47. red paint 48.Synthetic resin


Craftsmen gather in each other’s The outcome is sturdy leather, which houses and courtyards to work; lasts years and ages beautifully. While friendly chats accompanying chores. some of the classic designs creatThe men and women divide their ed at the beginning of Jawaja projwork equally which are handcraft ect are still popular, craftsmen have bags and accessories, some in new developed products like laptop bags designs and some in old ones. The and accessories for a newer market. beauty of Jawaja leather work is that The craft that was revived with the it is not just handcrafted from start to formation of Artisans’ Association of finish, the leather products are even Jawaja now prospers, but also faces stitched with leather strips instead new challenges. While environmental of threads. Two layers of leather are pollution continues to be an import-


first stuck together and then stitched ant issue, the younger generation may by punching holes with awls, or large be losing interest in this traditional needle like tools, and leather strips craft. Many now have salaried jobs in are made to pass through the layers, nearby towns. Yet, as exports of this binding them together. The leather classic leather products rises, growstitches have a characteristic diamond ing international acclaim will make shape that adds to the understated this craft thrive for many more years. elegance of these leather products.




48. 39

Bag Making - Process 49. 49. The panels are skived using a bigger knife. 50. The craftsman uses a wooden piece to flatten the panel 51.The panel is put for drying in sunlight. 52. The craftsmen use pencil to trace the pattern to the hide.The pattern is cut using a chisel. 53. Attaching two panels using synthetic resin. 54. Panel is hammered on top of the seam


55. The hammerd panel is hand-stitched 56.Hammering is repeated to improve strength 57.Synthetic resin is put on the edges 58. Small Panels are cut and skived 59.Edges are hammered 60.Base edges are sponged with water 61. Edges are touched with matching dye 62.Bag is attached to the base, notches acts as refernce points 63.Extra leather strips are cut using a knife 64.Final product


40 52.















Arisans at Dastakar haat exhibition

The Artisans Alliance of Jawaja (AAJ) represents an association

capacities that can give artisans greater control over the mar-

of leather workers (Jawaja Leather Association, or JLA) and

keting process. AAJ, and its two Associations, is managed by the

weavers (Jawaja Weaver’s Association, or JWA) located in the

artisans themselves through a democratic system of governance

Jawaja block of Ajmer District in Rajasthan. AAJ has a history

that is linked to its history. The artisans of Jawaja were the cat-

of 35 years, and a national and international reputation for the

alysts for ‘The Rural University’ experiment in education for

quality of its hand-made products as well as for the experiment in self-reliance that began in 1975 under the leadership of the late self-reliance which its extraordinary history represents.

Prof Ravi J Matthai, the first full-time Director of the celebrated

Today, ‘Jawaja’ is a respected craft brand in an increasingly

Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad).

competitive global market for handmade products that use heri-

That experiment linked the artisans with contemporary disci-

tage skills to meet contemporary needs. Every Jawaja product is

plines and institutions of knowledge, including IIMA and the

entirely ‘handmade in India’ using natural materials.

National Institute of Design (NID), in a relationship of mutual

The Jawaja range includes a classic collection which has been in

learning and mutual respect. ‘The Rural University’ experiment

demand for over three decades, as well as new collections created

at Jawaja has had a far-reaching influence, well beyond the craft

in an artisan designer partnership that is the hallmark of AAJ.


AAJ works as a marketing agency, building entrepreneurship 42

Jawaja is a very backward block in Ra-

new Indian disciplines applied to age-old

greater control of livelihood efforts, away

jasthan. Over 85,000 people live in ap-

challenge of poverty and discrimination.

from the exploitation by traditional power

proximately 200 villages in an area that is

How best could contemporary know-how

structures. Villagers learnt to manage their

drought and flood-prone, with little arable

be linked with age-old wisdom and skills?

own activities including procurement of

land and water. The caste system remains

How could new partnerships be forged be-

materials, handling finances, learning to

strong in this difficult region, and artisans

tween modern centres of learning (such as

deal with banks, drawing on specialized

are at the bottom of the social ladder. The

IIMA and NID, the first of several partners institutions of design and technology and

Artisans Alliance of Jawaja (AAJ) has a

with AAJ) and the so-called ‘unorganized’

above all, acquiring greater command

history of 35 years. It has earned a

sector within which the vast majority of

over the marketing process. The number

national and international reputation for

Indians seek their livelihood? To find an-

of participating villages grew through a

the quality of its handmade products, as

swers, Matthai christened his experiment

process of one villager teaching another,

well as for the experiment in self-reliance,

‘The Rural University’. In it, all partici-

who teaches another, one village helping

which its history represents.

pants would learn

another village, and thus gradually build-

from one another, without classrooms and

ing a network of mutually helpful rela-

without any distinctions between teachers

tionships. This ‘extensibility’ of economic

and the taught, and in which the ultimate

activity was intended to encourage both

benchmark of achievement would be gen-

self-reliance and the ability to dispense or

uine self-reliance, mutual learning and

transform the initial external inputs - of

mutual respect. Thus began an extraordi-

which IIMA and NID were the most prom-

nary Endeavour of far-reaching influence,


not only on the participants but on some of The Jawaja Experiment thus began with the most significant efforts in Indian civil

Prof Ravi Matthai leading a small group

In 1975, the late Prof Ravi J Matthai

society over the past decades.

of volunteers to what seemed a barren

decided to test management knowledge at

The Jawaja project attempted to influence

patch of land with little resources and even

the gut level of Indian need: in the strug-

rural education through development

less hope. Forty years later, the Jawaja

gles of those oppressed by poverty and

activities that could make local education

Leather Association continue their strug-

neglect. He invited the National Institute

relevant to local needs, and help initiate a

gle for self-reliance and dignity. They have

of Design, then in the early stages of intro- wider range of economic and social choic-

come a long way. The leather workers and

ducing design education to India, to join

es. In time, products of leather, wool and

weavers have won a degree of economic

his search for relevance. Matthai chose

cotton emerged as the Jawaja ‘brand’.

independence. Their products are reputed

the degraded Jawaja block in Ajmer Dis-

Greater self-reliance was the goal, to

in India and in many parts of the world.

trict (Rajasthan) as the testing ground of

reflect an ability of the artisans to gain 43

Gaatha- A Tale of crafts: Gaatha is an association that is working towards reviving of the dying crafts of India. Their aim is to •    Bring handicrafts back to public memory and debate, such that they remain a part of policy making.

Major Domestic Client

•    Bring business and opportunities to craftsmen and improve their financial situation.

Fabindia was founded in 1960 by John Bissell to mar-

•    Tell the tales, traditions and process associated with

ket the diverse craft traditions of India. Today, with

the craft.

a pan-India presence, Fabindia is the largest private

•    Build an ultimate online self & people sourced

platform for products that derive from traditional crafts

knowledge resource for crafts. A resource that is only

and knowledge. A large proportion of these are sourced

partially monitored.

from villages across India where the company works

•    Highlight utility and malleability of craft to create

closely with the artisans, providing various inputs in-

contemporary artifacts/experiences. Help the

cluding design, quality control, access to finance and

artisan create modern day relevant designs, a combina-

raw materials. Fabindia links over 80,000 craft based

tion of contemporary and ethnic

rural producers to modern urban markets, thereby cre-

•    Keep all the good practices intact and all processes

ating a base for skilled, sustainable rural employment,

humane, just and ecologically balanced with

and preserving India’s traditional handicrafts in the

regular disclosures

process. Jawaja Leather Association has partnered with Fabindia to sell a variety of products at their retail stores to support the craft. The bags are made by craftsmen in Beawer, which are then exported to fabindia at a certain price. Fabindia then performs its own design process and techniques onto the products to give them a finished look.


Artisans packing finished products to Dastakar haat exhibition




The Jawaja Leather association takes their loans from Bank of

agricultural laborers and cottage industry entrepreneurs.

Baroda, Beawar. Several artisans working in Sargaon on Jawaja

With the objective of developing rural economy through

leather products are also eligible for several schemes which

promotion of agriculture, trade, commerce, industry and

Bank of Baroda offer for loans and funding. Bank of Baroda

extending credit facilities particularly to small and marginal

has different schemes for different caste categories i.e.scheduled

farmers, agricultural laborers and small entrepreneurs, Bank of

Caste, Schedule Tribes, Other backward classes etc.

Baroda, over the years, has reached out to larger part of rural

The Artisans working for Jawaja leather products broadly belong

India. They extend loans for agricultural activities and a host of

to the Regar community, which falls under the Schedule Caste

services for farmers well tuned to the rural market, and aim to


make a Self Reliant Rural India.

The artisans get their funding under the Mudra Scheme. Every category get their funding based on different rates. The rate for

Other than the Mudra scheme, Bank of Baroda offers several

Mudra scheme is 8% per annum.

other schemes to uplift the rural sectors and artisans working on Jawaja leather association are eligible for these schemes as well. Â

Rural India contributes a major chunk to the economy every

Several other banks also provide different schemes to the rural

year. To give this sector a stronghold on finance and to enable

sector at which they can take loans. However, Jawaja Leather

economic independence, Bank of Baroda has special offerings

artisans prefer taking loans from Bank of Baroda.

that extend credit facilities to small and marginal farmers,

Close up of a finished bag 47

Product line Tote bag

Messenger Bag[men’s]


Messenger Bag[women’s]

Women’s handbag

passport wallet

Messenger Bag[men’s] wallet[women’s]



Sustainability Analysis Is Jawaja Leather Craft Sustainable?


Sustainability Analysis


Criteria For Selection of Economic Activities



Approach that guided Jawaja Project 1. People must learn to help themselves and to help others 2. The process of learning should be related to the villagers' attitudes and capability to perceive opportunities and manage their affairs 3. Learning becomes narrow and reaches a "plateau" unless the learner does something, or someone else does something to enhance his capability to learn 4. Learning should enable people to work in groups, to understand the need for mutuality and cohesiveness, develop norms for group functioning, and evolve their own organization 5.The process to develop villagers' awareness  and  capabilities  could  start  with gainful new economic activities which attract their in5terest and attention. The process assumes that while people will learn in the course of doing things and therefore development activities could be the vehicle of learning, the activities themselves should not be of primary importance.

Scope For Improvement 1. There are many issues left to be worked upon before calling these craftspeople as self-reliant: 2. They still don’t have adequate drinking water, adequate sewage sanitation, or higher education. 3. Present market situation requires strong marketing strategies to grow business, in which the association seems to be lacking. The craftspeople are very dependent on outside support for marketing. 4. Even the women do half of the work involved in craft, they are not involved in decision making. There are huge opportunities for women craftspersons. But people of Jawaja are missing the opportunities. Caste discrimination has deprived them from becoming self-relient.  5. No facility for waste water treatment. The toxic wastewater is poured in the earth pit.

closeup of leatehr strips 55


Waste Management Do Craftsman Indulge in Waste Management?



Waste Management Environmental






sustainable environmental protection condition the sustainable development.

development, focus on combating pollution from human activities, The waste management has an important role within the concept preventing possible damages, assimilation, adaptation and of sustainable development, waste can be also a source of application of environmental requirements, implementation of secondary raw materials, not only a potential source of pollution. common international projects to protect biodiversity, monitoring

The management strategy includes an analysis of the current

the water quality and the condition of the forests and also solving situation of waste management and measures that need to be taken acute 158 problems such as the decrease and recovery of waste to improve the waste management criteria thereby, preparing for and greening agriculture, promoting clean technologies and re-use, recycling, recovery and disposal of waste and an evaluation the transformation of human settlements into sustainable cities. of how the plan will support the implementation of objectives. Sustainable development includes environmental protection and The concept of Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) was developed to achieve end-of-pipe (EoP) treatment of combined wastewater at lower unit cost than could be achieved by individual industries and to Raw hide/skin to Semi Finished Leather (i.e. EI /wet Blue) Units processing both Raw to Semi finished and Finished Leather.


Waste Management- Current Scenario


Landfilling does not solve the problem in the environmental friendly manner. Moreover, it brings about threats like potential contamination and generates energetic and financial costs. The proper utilization of this waste not only eliminates the negative environmental impacts of its landfilling, but also brings benefits such as energy and material recovery. The combustion process permits to utilize all types of solid tannery waste. Since the waste contains mostly organic matter (apart from moisture), significant amount of energy may be recovered in this process.



Scope for Improvement

There are two main ways in which liquid waste can be managed: Mechanical treatment: Usually the first treatment of the raw

There are two ways in which solid waste can be managed:

effluent is the mechanical treatment that includes screening to remove coarse material. Up to 30- 40 % of gross suspended

Solid waste Management:

solids in the raw waste stream can be removed by properly designed screens. Mechanical treatment may also include skim-

1. Processing waste: The leather waste that results from the

ming of fats, Grease, oils, and gravity settling.

production process can be processed to obtain bio fertilizers with protein additives, biofuels, biomaterials used in human medicine,

Effluent treatment:

veterinary medicine, cosmetics, dermatology or surface-active


Segregations of pollutants

materials for the construction industry.


Activated Sludge


Anaerobic Lagoon

2. Installment of machinery: Machines to skive and scrap the


Facultative Ponds

leather can be installed so that small chunks don’t result from the


Sedimentation and Sludge Handling



Recycling The Dehairing Bath :Saving and reusing

the contents of the dehairing bath instead of discharging it Liquid waste management:

all into the sewer after a single use. This simple technology requires only fixed investments in a holding tank, a pump,

Jawaja leather association members throw the wastewater in the

and a filtering system to remove suspended solids (=usually a

earth pit, which is again very harmful for the soil and the ground

simple wire mesh screen). Because the chemical inputs into

water as it, mixes with it.

the dehairing bath are relatively inexpensive, only minor cost savings accompany the environmental benefits.

Closeup of Skived leather bits



WATER WASTAGE Do Craftsman Practice Waste Management?


Water Conservation- Current Scenario


Scope for Improvement CLRI was founded to develop an internal strength in the country to generate, assimilate and innovate technologies for leather sector. It is one matter to design and develop technologies but entirely another to reach viable technologies in a traditional sector like leather. Waterless chrome tanning is one such initiative taken up to reduce the water wastage in tanning process. •

Complete elimination of water input for chrome tanning

No discharge of wastewater from chrome tanning

Total elimination of pickling and basification

Comparable shrinkage temperature to that of conventionally tanned leathers

High chrome content in leather

Quality of the leather is comparable to conventionally processed chrome tanned leathers

Enhanced productivity due to the elimination of intermediate unit processes like pickling and basification

Simple process and does not demand additional infrastructure or new chemical

Suitable for both hides and skins

Cost Savings due to Reduction in BCS offer by 1 to 2% Reduction in water usage Reduction in wastewater volume Elimination of chrome recovery



Peta Concerns



of TA th ani , In in e be ma dia su dus ef i ls) s ( P pp try nd ee eo lie , a us ks ple r o s t try to fo f a he is re r e ni da co mi th ma ir nn nd ic M ls y in ec th al t al to du ted e p rea e th str to ub tm in ca eb y d se lic en l u t v h n s ee is e d th t us t to try es, a f efu b , a co in ke ai at du y r y l f e s re ns str or la le ide f u y mi g t t re o h lk, te s d w Da re tar o f e i co ry ma d. ve rth les Wh , a les lea nne bu en ba s b th cte ssin a re th nd y er d e typ ey on the in wi ss du th is ica ’re ed, da str th lly no or iry y e kil se lo ar led nt ng e as to b er we e ll.



Th se ere th vera are wa ey d l s rep to y fo o n laug ort o i r ot h s s a sla pr ter tha vio ug act hou t a la hte ice ses t tio rin et , n o g, hic f l wh al aw ic h .

Th Na ere a sir re pr op aba sev ov e d er id ra an al es tin d sl em g Ah au lo wit me gh ym ho d ter en ut aba ho u tt o m lice d th ses an nse at a in y p , t re eo hat pl e.

an has cr ima be tru amm ls en r su cks ed slat epo ffo , w in ed rt ca h to fo ed tio ich se r s th n. ro ve lau at, ut rel gh m in y c te an ely ro r y a w ca d re us ed e



Jawaja as GI Geographical indications are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks,





Jawaja being such a popular craft that represents its place of origin should be protected by GI. The benefits of making Jawaja a GI could be The product will get more value commercially by its mere association with a particular place. GIs helps in the identification of a source of a good which in turn is related with the quality of good The









specific geographical area and that particular area


protection A

an under


indicative GI












those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards.

Closeup of Artisan at work


Fake products sold in local market in name of jawaja


Local Markets

One of the most significant markets where Jawaja leather is sold is Pushkar market. Pushkar is a small and a beautiful city of Rajasthan with more religious tourists and the city have a prominence as it is having some of the most important temples of Hinduism that attracts hundreds of tourist to its land. But not only for religious visits but the city is also known as the best shopping place in the entire northern India. The city is best known for its leather goods and rose products, which are simply irresistible, and one can find many beautiful rose essences and perfumes. Among leather products, Jawaja leather is one of the most prominent ones. However, according to the interviews with the shopkeepers, they were not very satisfied with dealing in Jawaja leather dude to low profitability. Â As a result, due to low profitability, Jawaja leather association prevents retail in the local market of Rajasthan. Instead, they are in partnership contract with NID, Fab India and several online portals.


Weakness Strengths

Unawareness about international requirements and market.

Large product variety

Less interest among young people towards craft

100% handmade

Lack of promotion of products

Niche market

Inadequate information of current market trends

Well trained craftsmen

Limitations of colors and designs

Partnerships with NID and IIM

Quality issues

SWOT ANALYSIS Oppurtunities Rising demand for handicraft products in developed countries such as USA, Italy etc

Threats Competition in domestic market Limitations of colors and designs are limiting their sales and demand among the consumers


Even though one medium sized bag can be stitched in one day, with the involvement of two people, the processing of hides for preparation takes up one month and a lot of involvement. The outcome is sturdy leather, which lasts years and ages beautifully. While some of the classic designs created at the beginning of Jawaja project are still popular, craftsmen have developed products like laptop bags and accessories for a newer market. The craft that was revived with the formation of Artisans’ Association of Jawaja now prospers, but also faces new challenges. While environmental pollution continues to be an important issue, the younger generation may be losing interest in this traditional craft. Many now have salaried jobs in nearby towns. Yet, as exports of this classy leather products rise, growing international acclaim will make this craft thrive for many more years.


References Gupta, R. (1988). Perspectives: Sustained Development through People: Insights from an Experiment. Vikalpa, 13(1), pp.3-16. CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute, 2015. CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute. [Online] Available at: V John Sundar, R. R. P. R. P. S. B. S. a. C. M., 2001. Water Management in Leather Industry. Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research, June, Volume 60, pp. 443-450. Jawaja Leather Association, n.d. Products. [Online] Available at: National Institute of Fashion Technology, 2015. 29th Annual Report 2014-15, s.l.: s.n. ILRT India, n.d. Lessons from Practical Livelihood Promotion Approaches. In: Resource Book for Livelihood Promotion. s.l.:s.n., pp. 46-47. Gaatha_Home, 2010. Reborn. [Online] Available at: South Asia Institute, 2015. Leaving Footprints in the Sand: Rajasthani Artisans’ Struggle for Survival. [Online] Available at: Gupta, R. (1988). Perspectives: Sustained Development through People: Insights from an Experiment. Vikalpa, 13(1), pp.3-16. Parwar, Amikar, Importance of Geographical Indication in the Growing IPR World (August 5, 2009). Available at SSRN: https:// or WIPO World Intellectual Property Organisation, n.d. Geographical Indications. [Online] 78

Glossary- Indigenous terms (mainly jootis) -leather shoes ( kachha chamada) -raw leather leather market -(mandi) Calotropistree- (aakh). scraping off- (chillai) lime water -(Choona) riping-(PAKANA) Saccharum munja grass- (moonj ki ghass) spleen oil -(tilli ka tel)


Atul Kumar Verma Lakshmi Surya Priyanshi Tater Sanchita Verma Shivangi Rastogi Tripti Gupta Uzma Ansari 80

Jawaja Leather Association  
Jawaja Leather Association