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ŠCopyright@ 2018 NIFT All rights reserved. No part of this document covered by the copyright here on maybe reproduced or used in any form or by any means such as graphics, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, taping and scanning without the permission of the copyright owner.

National Institute of Fashion Technology Raebareli Campus

DECLARATION We hereby declare that the information given in this document is authentic and the copyright to reproduce this document in any form is reserved to National Institute of Fashion Technology, Raebareli. The diagnostic study was conducted between 04/06/2018 to 10/06/2018 and the information is valid for the year 2018-2019.

Ayan Harsh Kanchal Muskaan Makin Pranshri Gupta Shashwat Vedant Shivangi Barwar Mr. Sanjay Pandey (ASSISTANT PROFESSOR) NIFT Raebareli

Mr Akhilendra Pratap Sonker (ASSISTANT PROFESSOR) NIFT Raebareli


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Through the dingy lanes of Benaras, lost in the arcade of colors, crowds, charms; the experience of documenting and inking Benaras’s heritage to print was both an unexpected and highly enriching experience. In our sojourn to learn about the city’s best known craft, we were guided by numerous craftsmen- the often unknown faces behind the craft- who welcomed us in their homes and hearts and helped us in our learnings. Somewhere amidst our efforts to perceive the conundrum, experience the mystic charms, live through each and every rise and fall, each and every effort made to give a child the happiness of his lifetime, we fell for the surreal beauty this age old craft so effortlessly radiates. All the heard voices, opinions, crowds and music resonates the hard work that goes behind creating each of these little wonders of joy- the toys! All our captivated selves did was to lend a voice to the dying craft that has, over the decades, managed to inspire an entire culture, create lives and livelihoods, and add colors into the lives of millions. In more than one ways, the journey of nfvagf/; from inception to conclusion, proved to be an eye-opener; a task that guided us deeper into the world of craft- an essence that defines us. An essence that is us.




Lots of effort has gone into making of this documentation. We would like to give our sincere thanks to all those who helped in the completion of this craft documentation on Lacquer Toys from Varanasi. We take this moment to express our deepest gratitude to National Institute of Fashion Technology, Raebareli to which we owe the pleasure of the opportunity. We submit our sincere thanks to our subject mentor, Mr. Sanjay Pandey who chartered this compilation, was ever unstinting in his support. His faith in our team led to this assemblage, page after page. We further extend our gratitude to Dr. Smriti Yadav (Cluster Innovation Centre) and Ms. Roli Misra for their initial guidance which led to the in-depth understanding of the subject. We are extremely thankful to all our faculty members from the Department of Fashion Communication for equipping us with the requisite skill set that aided in putting this document together. Very special note of thanks to the artisans from Khojwan and Kashmiriganj who welcomed us into their homes, and shared with us the intricacies of their life, livelihood and business. Lastly, we thank Mr. Jana who would give us riddles to know more about the mythology that constitutes Varanasi.



OBJECTIVE Our visit enabled us assimilate all the necessary information of or relating to the cluster and achieve the following objectives, ascertained before visiting the area of study. • To carry out a thorough study of the allotted area of study, gain a wider perspective and, evaluate the present status of the artisan community associated with the craft. • To analyze the practical and technical aspects of the hindrances faced by the artisan community.

• To study and explore the areas wherein developments can be made to improve the present scenario and raise the overall living standards of the craftsmen while curating a plan of action for future developments in the craft.


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आत्मैवेदं सववम .

ब्रह्मवेदं सववम ..

ऐ शाम है बनारस प्रातःकाल त्यौहार है बनारस रग रग में बसने वाले धमम,




बनारस कला के रं गों में गतत

कोयल हथेली के एक एक श्रम,


एहसान है बनारस यहााँ तो प्रततभा बस्ती है मानवता ऐ शान है बनारस 8



Benaras Unveiled


The Craft



Sun kissed shores, adorned with lazy choruses of temple bells, the tourists, sadhus and the colors- Varanasi, the city of the ‘ancient’ preserves its majestic grandeur even today. It is the cradle of culture; the birthplace of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism; holier than the holy, a handicraft of surreal talents and traditional mélange; and a golden glory of Literature. Varanasi is not he name of a city, you see, it’s a culture that has seen centuries and centuries of eves and crowds. A culture that has seen the likes of Buddha of Sarnath, Adi Shankara, Tulsidas, Guru Nanak and a diverse range of royal patronages, etched in the pages of time. A culture proud of its literature (from the scriptures of Ram Charit Manas to Sant Kabir’s parchments), its crafts, its faith and its ability to grant salvation to the eternity seeking souls.


For long the city, thriving on the southern banks of river Ganga, has been the centre of all cultural activity in the country. It still is. How the city grew to be an acclaimed commercialized and industrialized version of itself, though, is a whole other different story. They say the city was founded by Lord Shiva, the destroyer of the worlds. Archaeological evidences of the artefacts dating back to 800 BCE, proves the occupation. The ancient economy belonged to the muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculptures traded from its . Between the Pali scriptures defining Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath and the golden descriptions of Hiuen Tsiang in his memoirs, the city saw quite a growth, prominently evident in the pages of history. This was 7th century BCE. Then came the Mauryan era and the revival of the cultural vista that continued even after Mughal emperor had annexed the throne. In 1737, the kingdom of Benares was given official status by the Mughals, and continued as a dynastygoverned area until Indian independence in 1947. How long has it existed for? The ghats, scriptures, and temples- all of these- defy the age. While the ancient scriptures of Upanishads, Puranas and Vedas, all bear stories rich in clues, legend has it the city is as old as humanity.



Each day, before the sun hits the zenith, the narrow bylanes of Kashmiriganj and Khojwan localities of Benaras, resound with a life of its own. The humdrum from the buzzing lathe machines and hammers, rising smoke from furnaces and clouds of wood shavings greet the way as one explores through the realms of Benaras’s one of the most popular handicrafts Wooden lacquer toys. Shaved with meticulous detailing, and crafted and polished to a variety of shapes and sizes, this craft is known for the colorful, polished lacquer-painted works of hand that have so effortlessly merged into the childhood of thousands of Indians for decades. These toys derive their design inspirations from the tales of history, Indian mythology, Mahabharata, Ramayana and more recently, from popular culture as well. The themes are varied so are the efforts, the wood variety and brush-stroke style.


Over the years, since the country’s independence, this unique handicraft has seen both an enormous rise, and a debilitating fall. The survival though, was nothing less than a unique affair of effortless schemes, help from NGOs, subsidies and honest hard work from the artisan community. Today, Lacquer toys of Benaras enjoy the unique status of Geographical Indication tag in India, granted to it in the year 2014, along with other lacquer ware produced in this region. And the legacy, well, lives on.



A traditional art form tracing its roots from the ancient art of ivory carving, the wooden lacquer toy craft has had humble origins before it kissed the glory and mass popularity it so impeccably enjoys today. The world’s oldest city’s gorgeous melange of cultures, diversity and the unmatchable dextrosity proved to be quite a favorable haven for the establishment and nurturing of a new artform.


But was it always a smooth ride? The answer runs in sheer negation. While the meticulous hand carving skill was a boon, the material was not always wood and lacquer, as we know it today. According to the craftsmen, their ancestors specialized in ivory carving that enjoyed good patronage during the reign of the Mughal emperors and the British. Unfortunately with India attaining Independence, the government banned the use of ivory for decorational purposes. Suddenly, the master craftsmen that had kept the artform alive for decades, found themselves devoid of a livelihood. A craft that had lasted for centuries was about to die. The shift from ivory to wood was both unprecedented and natural. The process had started years hence, when a Rajasthan ruler, ousted from his kingdom by the Mughals took refuge in the forest. The king’s supporters had to leave their homes as well and as they settled in the forests, they adopted the practice of wood carving and toymaking and sold them to earn a livelihood. And thus was born the craft. Over the years, with the efforts from the government and art lovers, the craft has soared great heights and now enjoys a cultural identity that so subtly defines the city of Benaras.




सख ु दुःु खे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभो जायाजायो

ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमववपस्यसस

इन रं गों के मेल में सपने सजते हैं यहााँ कला के मेले लगते हैं खिलौनों में डूबा बचपन

नन्हे कदम में नाचता, पपरोता है लकड़ियों के आकारों में मुस्कानें बबिेरता है

ये लाक्षगह ृ

के रग रग में

हर रोज़, नए मनसूबे रचते हैं










For wooden toymakers, wood sourcing is a quite a job. The ever present exploitation, lack of a standard pricing system, lack of quality check and the absence of an efficient transportation system completes the scenario. The preferred wood variants of Eucalyptus, Caima and Keria are sourced from the cities of Chitrakoot, Sitapur, Lucknow and Mirzapur. There are 3 chief raw wood suppliers at Khojwan with a daily demand averaging 10 to 15 quintal for each supplier. The pricing chart at Khojwa starts with Keria at 1400 rupees per quintal, Eucalyptus comes at 1300 rupees per quintal while Caima wood at anything between 900 to 800 rupees per quintal. Prices are cheaper at the weekly open wholesale warehouses. 21

Upon further analysis it was found that the actual costs of unseasoned raw wood has a cost price of less than 600 rupees per quintal. It is widely believed that the 1982 act of wood ban lead to the current exploitation and over pricing of raw wood. The other major component of the craft, lac, is bought and stored in its processed and purer form, chapra. Chapra flakes are imported by the artisans and lac wholesalers based in Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal. Daily sales of chapra at Khojwan average to 100 kilograms and the material itself is sold for around 500 rupees per kg. ‘Khushi’ is the most common brand used. 22

LAKDI, CHAPDA AUR LAC The best kind of wood for making wooden toys are the ones charcterised with light, open grain and have a light color. At Khojwan and Kashmiri Ganj, Eucalyptus, Caima and Keria make the most popular variety. The type of wood used, though, depends upon the final product as well. While Eucalyptus is the preferred variety owing to its color and durability, Caima, a softwood variant, is reserved for products requiring detailed wood carving and artistry. Meanwhile, Keria products enjoy a better shelf life and give a great finish when polished. Other softwood like Sheesham and Deodar are not used in the trade owing to their tight grains. Seasoned wood is usually dearer by 100 to 200 rupees.


Lac is the natural resin produced by microscopic insects of a number of species, the most commonly cultivated of which is Kerria lacca. This lac, collected from the coated branches of the host trees, is cut and harvested as sticklac. This sticklac is of a crystalline form and is crushed, sieved and washed to remove all its natural impurities. The resulting product, known as seedlac, is melted on steam grids, processed, and cooled on rollers to a pellet shaped form, commonly known as chapra.

Chapra, in its natural form, comes in a range of colors from honey brown to dark brown and chestnut brown. The quality is decided on the basis of both color as well as the melting point. A lesser melting point, usually means lower impurity, more fluidity and pigment holding capacity and ultimately, a better quality. Chapra is processed into lac sticks( by adding color pigments) that are finally used for coloring. The process takes about an hour or two. These sticks come in two variants depending upon the color; solid colors come at 300 rupees per kg while the metallic pigmented ones come at 450 rupees per kg. 24

TOOLS AND MACHINERY The electric lathe machine form the most significant ingredient of the toy manufacturing industry. The machine consists of a movable wooden shaft, rotating about a central axis, over which the object to be crafted is fixed. The machine is mounted to the ground and comes with a rotating motor, pulleys and a conveyor belt. A number of tools with uniquely styled tips are used for wood shaping . Tools are hand-held, pressed against the wooden block on the shaft to carve and give shape, as the shaft rotates. Lathe machine can be both, manual and electrical.





WOOD SEASONING Wood seasoning is the process wherein the raw wood is air-dried or kiln-dried to relieve it of its moisture content. This is done to prevent insect infestation, ensure easy handling and prolong durability. Since seasoned woods are dearer to purchase, artisans often prefer to buy raw wood and season by air-drying it in open spaces of their houses or workshops.

TURNING The seasoned wood is still in the form of logs. These logs are measured and cut in desired lengths according to the end product, hoisted on the lathe machine and chiseled to remove superfluous wood. The toys (if not too large) are almost always constructed from a single block of wood. The wooden block can be shaved either using electric lathe machines or manually. In handcarving, first the design of the toy is drawn on the wood. Then, the wood is sculpted with chisel and hammer according to the design. Various hand tools are used to add perfection and detailing to the design.


FINISHING The surface of the wood is often imperfect and laced with depressions and scars. Sandpapers of grade #120 to #150 are utilized to get rid of these imperfections and polish the wood surface to perfection. This is done by gently pressing the sandpaper against the rotating surface of the product while it is still mounted on the lathe.

LACSTICKS IN MAKING Chapra, or shellac pellets are melted in a pot over burning coal and the viscous mixture is constantly stirred till the desired fluidity is reached. Once this state is attained, the mixture is mixed with loban (a form of resin),rhodamine and color pigments or bukni (in the form of powder), and stirred again. The mixture, then , is slowlallowed to cool slowly, and is stretched, kneaded, and framed into lacsticks. The entire process takes close to one hour.




RANGSAZI Once the product is crafted to its final form, it is time to color it with the lacsticks. The lacsticks are gently pressed against the surface of the product while it is still rotating and on the lathe. Owing to the low melting point of the lacsticks, the color pigments from the melted lacstick stick to the wood surface to give a uniform, clear finish. Products are usually hand-painted to add further detailings, and to give the toy a more friendly look or feel. This job is done by the painter community at Khojwan specialising in creating unique design motifs and unleashing their brushwork mastery giving a unique character to the toys. Painting is done using squirrel-haired brushes (especially brought over from Kolkata) suitable for acrylic use. The wood surface is first coated with white acrylic emulsion or a primer before applying a coat or two of acrylic paint. Sometimes powder colors are used as well. This is done by mixing the color pigments with babool resin. Thinner is used as a diluting agent and a layer of clear varnish is applied over the paintwork afterwards. Painters average 100 to 200 products per day.


POLISHING The lacquered product is yet not ready to be put up for sale. Polishing and varnishing play a major role in adding that final sheen to the product. Buffing is done by attaching the finished product to the rotating shaft, to give the product a polished, uniform surface, devoid of any bumps or blemishes. This is topped by a layer or two of rich varnish to further accentuate the look.





"कमवण्येवाधधकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन,

मा कमवफलहे तभ ु म भव ाव ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकमवणि।।

एक कठपुतली, दो कठपुतली, तीन

कुछ बात हैं इन खिलौनों में रं गीन घाट घाट बास्ते, समय से दरू

कई बचपन दे िें हैं इन खिलोनो ने ये कला से सजे पुतले

नाजाने ककतनी कहातनयां ललिते हैं

ककसकी वो जादई ु कलाकृतत थी, क्या पता

बस यादें रह जातीं हैं हसीं




• •

Product Range

Primary Data Analysis

Secondary Data Analysis

Pan India

GI Tag

SWOT Analysis

GAP Analysis

Today’s Scenario

A Study In Design Government Schemes

Limitations in Research







Key Chains




Hair Pin


Candle Stand








Chess pieces




Kitchen Sets


Eating Birds




Russian Dolls


Wooden Containers








Napkin Holder


Bawri Baja


Pnchmukhi Hanuman Ji














Economy and beyond..


ythology says that the center of Kashi was a powerful energy form, which created a tower of light. This abode of Shiva embodies the very belief each day with its Sapta Rishi aarti performed in the evenings to pay obeisance to the transfer of this energy to the Sapta Rishis through Shiva. Perhaps, the light still exists, somewhere in the dingy lanes and corners of the city.

Up to 4 percent of the population works in the agricultural sector. Manufacturing Industry in Varanasi include Varanasi silk weaving, brass wares, jewellery, carpet, wall hangings, lamp shades and replicas of Hindu and Buddhist deities. Other leading manufacturing industries in Varanasi are Diesel Locomotive Works and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited. Surprisingly, the cottage industry and various smallscale enterprises dominate economy of the city, holding an employment record of 29 per cent with just 11 per cent in big industries. Another sector influencing the economy is the education sector.

A commercial aspect

Commercial activity in the city was started when the British East India company established private trade with the city back in the 1780s leading to the city’s commercial development. Exports items included goods like cotton cloth, opium, sugar and later textile and indigo. Today, Varanasi’s economy is dominated by tourism, with the city attracting pilgrims of Hinduism, Jainism s well as Buddhism sect. Each year up to 3 million national citizens and 200,000 foreigners throng the city to revel in its mysticism, increasing the revenue of Varanasi to a large extent. Hospitality and hotel industry buzzes with profits all year round.

While the commercial activity expanded, the city retained its status of the ‘capital of knowledge and learning’. Varanasi is said to have encapsulated the highest level of talent in spirituality, science, mathematics, music, and astronomy all gathered in one place. In fact, the city earns its titles from the great men who have made some of the greatest contributions to the cultural, literary, and artistic heritage of India.











PAN INDIA The craft nurtures its presence in a variety of forms and facets, across the country. While the basic material handling remains the same, each craft style enjoys a distinct design pattern, product range and following.

51 59

Channapatna Toys created here are a particular form of wooden toys (and dolls) that are manufactured in the town of Channapatna in the Ramanagara district of Karnataka state, India. This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka.Traditionally, the work involved lacquering the wood of the Wrightia tinctoria tree, colloquially called Aale mara (ivory-wood).

Jammu & Kashmir Lathe cum lacquer woodworks is well known in Anant Nag and Jammu City . This Craft is performed by the artisans of Kana Chak named village about 15 km far from Jammu . Handicrafts department of the state has made efforts to resuscitate this craft.Items made from Lacquer are table lamps,candle stands,flower vases and bowls of various sizes. They are made from hand-driven lathe machines called as kharadi.

52 60

Rajasthan The Lacquer and Filigree Work of Rajasthan in the form of Lac jewellery and bangles is popular across India. Filigree is a delicate jewellery work which involves metalwork usually made from gold or silver and is exported to various countries across the world especially in Europe and Middle East.


Punjab Punjab has its own wood work centres and each one has its own distinct style. Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Amritsar, and Bhera are known for their furniture and the carving is low relief with geometrical, floral, and animal designs. The articles made are tea pots, boxes, trays, table legs, screens, bowls, and chess boards.



Etikoppaka, a village situated on the banks of the River Varaha, in the Visakhapatnam District of Andhra Pradesh, is home to more than 200 artisans who breathe life into wood. The proximity of the forest area with plenty of Ankudu Karra and Poniki Chekka, a light and soft wood, promoted the tradition of the woodcraft in the hamlet of Etikoppaka.

The major reason for its popularity is its exceptional lacquer ware, which is popularly known as the Sawantwadi craft. Sawantwadi lacquer ware has managed to increase its horizon to things like board games, chess sets, candlesticks, small dolls etc. Having said that, a majority of the artist community still thrive by working and crafting the light fittings and lacquered furniture.

Bihar Lacquerware craft of Bihar is unique and has ritualistic connotations. Bihar produces raw and shell lac in huge quantities. Kusum is one of the varieties considered excellent for making legs of beds, boxes, bangles and stools and laquer is done over these items to decorate. Wooden products are worked on a lathe and very attractive motifs are engraved. Red and black are the main colours used. Gujarat The Banni area of Kutch with its own distinctive designs in lacquer ware is primarily famous for household items like bread rollers, spoons, churners, oil containers, legs for beds and wooden spinners. The style is distinct and the items crafted here have unusual colours and designs. Lacquered products were traditionally popular in Gujarat due to the prevailing social custom of presenting the bride with lacquered items such as the cradle, square seats used for religious ceremonies trays, boxes, dishes, utensils, cutlery, vases, bangle stands, lamp bases, chairs, and toys. West Bengal Raja Rani dolls, wooden carved owls, Radha Krishna idols are made in the most significant manner and are prepared in the six different sizes. There are few images of Ganesha, Durga, Ravana and Laxmi which give the impression of Ivory. Wooden platters and other kitchen items are also prepared at Chitpore in Kolkata. 62

A COMPARATIVE STUDY “Be sure you put your feet in the right place. Then stand firm.” ABRAHAM LINCOLN


The acclaimed craft of wooden lacquer toys might be a traditional gem and the cultural identity of the city of Benaras; and yet, the craft is a wide and prevalent artform found all over the country and in all unique designs and forms. • At Channapatnam of Kerala and Etikopakka in Andhra Pradesh, wooden lacquerware is a popular artform distinctly known for its use of ecological, non-toxic colors made of vegetable dyes. Also, the toys are made of ivory wood, a light weight variant that is known for its closed grain structure. • Craftwork at Jammu and Kashmir is still mostly done on hand driven machines. The craft here is known for its floral, intricate designs and a wide product range quite different from Benaras. • In Rajasthan softwood, instead of the usual hardwood, is employed to carve finer designs in the product. In Punjab nakkashi work is done with needles and the design is engraved on the lac polished surface, while Gujarati lacquer ware is known for its distinct zigzag pattern, Kalai work (made from tin emulsion) and geometric designs. • The craft enjoys a distinct status in Karnataka with the handicrafts being sold on the official government website and the craft design is promoted through frequent tie-ups and awareness workshops organized from time to time.


A STUDY IN DESIGN The toys come in all sorts of shape and sizes. After all, joy has no particular form, and childhood follows no particular age. From trinkets and souvenirs as small as an inch to dolls as high as 3 feet, the variety list runs as long as the imagination. The design itself ranges from style to style and size to size. While the older artisans prefer to stick to the traditional designs of dolls, hair-combs, statuettes of deities, and animals and birds, the younger and more modern artisan community, prefer to craft their products with respect to popular market demands and color schemes. Either way, the toys are famous for their extremely traditional feel and style showcasing an aesthetic perspective of life and culture. Toys often are made to depict history, Indian mythology, Mahabharata, and Ramayana. The toys can be classified into following categoriesreligious, cultural, animals & birds, and traditional and modern toys. Each theme is unique and carries its 65

own subtle purpose and reason. The design, accordingly, varies. All these themes have toys treated in a different way—religious toys are generally hand carved, and exhibit Indian motifs and patterns while the more modern versions come in bright solid colors. The cultural theme based toys shows the classes of society, the daily lifestyle and activity of the people in rural India and also some profession which were popular in ancient India. Meanwhile, the more contemporary toys are generally have modern patterns, color schemes and even, an innovative design. Common traditional products include damru, lattu, wind chime, kitchen set, stylized boxes, dolls, jokers, sinduras et al.

Balaji Handicrafts cooperative society, a popular local business selling the lacquerware, raised an official request for the GI tag in 2013. The request was approved and an official status was granted to the craft on November 2014. The recognition and protection allows the community of producers to invest in maintaining the specific qualities of the product on which the reputation is built. It may also allow them to invest together in promoting the reputation of the product.

GI Tag Varanasi lacquerware enjoys a distinct popularity and status in both, traditional customs and history. Today, that impeccable status boosts of an official certificate of merit, as the lacquerware has earned itself a GI tag. The use of a geographical indication, as a type of indication of source, acts as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made by traditional methods, and/or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.



The government runs a number of schemes and policies in the interest of Khojwan and Kashmiri Ganj artisan community. With the allocation of a bigger budget for craft promotion this year as well as Benaras being the prime minister’s constituency, the efforts have been quite exemplary and extensive. Our study led us know the current government schemes running in the favor of the artisans, how are they faring as well as the government’s plans for the future.


Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana A one year life insurance scheme designed to benefit people with lower incomes and of below the poverty margin. This scheme allows people to avail the benefits of insurance cover with minimum yearly deposits.

Mudra Loan Through this scheme, marriage and educational loans are available at much cheaper interest rates.

Shilpi card Official identity cards are issued to all the craftsmen and artisans associated with the craft so they can avail subsidies, get access to government policies and support groups and benefits as cheaper interest rates for loans, support and rewards. Shilpi card is also used for ease of government surveys of the area in order to frame better policies. Currently, the cards are in a process of renewal and more and more artisans are being issued the card and added to the artisan community. Extensive promotions and door to door campaigns are being carried out to ensure maximum participation. The process is bound to be completed by October this year.

USTAAD USTAAD or Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts is a scheme, started by the government to offer skill development in craft and distribute advices on marketing strategies and development. Under its aegis, master craftsmen are hired by the government itself to impart skill training to the newer, amateur generation of craftsmen, seeking to keep the craft alive.

Raw Material Depo A yet to be launched scheme, this government plan aims to ensure standardization of raw material rates. Under this scheme, the government plans to identify common grounds and set up warehouses where the artisans can buy the raw material sans exploitation, bargaining or or paying in black. All the rates would be standardized and fixed.

CFC Another coming up government plan, CFC or Common Facility Centre of Government would be set up to monitor the growth, development and promotion of the craft. Apart from the following schemes, steps have been taken to grant necessary exposure to the artisan community, by sending delegates on paid excursions to art fairs all over the country, granting a GI status to the craft as well as organising regular skill training workshops for the artisans.



Cultural Identity of Benaras

Unique product range

Shilpi Cards

Government Skill Training Workshops

Standardisation of raw material rates

International Recognition

Government subsidies and supportives


GI Tag



Lack of Innovation

Expensive Raw Material

Non-Utilisation of Bio-Products

Lack of quality check on raw materials

Competition from plastic industry


Low Sales

Future generations looking for alternate source of employment



While immense precautionary measures were undertaken to keep the findings as accurate as possible there might be exceptions in the case. The sample size undertaken comprised 27 artisans and their views were duly noted. All data analysis, and conclusions are drawn on the same set of findings and information gathered through these artisans. Thus the assumptions drawn may not apply to a larger population set or outside the Khojwan community. Care has been taken and several measures were adopted by the team to keep the findings as unbiased as possible and reduce the chances of any communication gap or misinterpretation of information available. Nevertheless the outcome maybe limited (owing to small sample size) and may contain practical flaws. A variety of research study tools were adopted to gain the presented information, from interviews, questionnaire, live, photographs and observation to obtaining a clear understanding of the secondary data available to us.

GAP ANALYSIS Gap analysis involves the comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance. Our sojourns at Khojwan enabled us to spot several such gaps existing in the traditional framework, societal politics and work ethics that hinder the work of artisans and in the long run, the growth of the community. What are these gaps and why do they exist? Here's what we found.

Non-Standardized Price Structure While being a major part of the city’s economy, the craft industry still remains a largely unorganized sector, lacking in support groups, job securities or a standard price structure. Nevertheless, this is one of the key areas where the artisans face exploitation. One of our findings revealed, while the raw wood (eucalyptus and Keria) at warehouses or local jungle mandis cost less than 700 rupees per quintal, artisans pay a hefty amount up to 1400 rupees to buy the same. The wood itself is too costly for most artisans to be able to afford.


Exploitation While the government allows the artisans to own a Shilpi card, granting them an official status as professional craftmasters and enabling them to avail the various benefits and subsidies available to them (including loans at cheaper interest rates, subsidised machinery and better education loan programs), most of the artisans are either not aware of these or have lost their cards to exploiting NGO workers and fellow tradesmen who often trick them into giving up their Shilpi cards. The subsidies never really reach the artisans. The scavenging middlemen take care of the same. 72


Government policies

Conflict of design and demand

While several policies exist, the artisans are almost always never aware of these. There is lack of both communication between the community and the government officials as well as promotional means to popularized these schemes.

Customers, today, look for variety and uniqueness in design. While the demand may accentuate by introducing a touch of modernity in the product design and motifs in accordance with the market demand and trends, most traditional craftsmen refrain from adding new design elements. Artisans prefer to rely on traditional toy designs, styles and color palettes, that have been tried and tested over the decades, for fear of lack of sales and material wastage.

Obstacles in Distribution Channel The prices at which the products are sold from the artisans to traders register a sharp contrast with respect to the prices at which the products are sold from the traders to consumers.


TODAY’S SCENARIO Today’s scenario shows a deepening conflict of interests as the demand drops and a shift in the market trends is observed. While the increased government efforts (including the recent heavy budget allocation for handicrafts) and policies contribute to greater awareness, the situation has, in the past five years, seen little improvement in the living standards of the craftsmen. Skill training workshops are organised from time to time, yet the participation is selective and paid for.

Among the artisan community, there is still hesitation in adopting new styles, modern colour palettes and customisation of design. Most artisans prefer to work with traditional design and colour palettes with little or no change observed in the past one decade. While new technology has brought more levels of customisation, more machinery and has significantly reduced the manufacturing time , the change is still in its nascent age and the implications can't yet be predicted. While traditional problems still persist, the point in question is whether the craft will ever be able to re-attain its former glory and if there will be enough people left to carry it onwards.


;Offj &


वासांसस जीिावनन यथा ववहाय

नवानन गह् ृ िनतुः, नरुः अपराणि, तथा शरीराणि ववहाय जीिावनन,

अन्यानन संयानत, नवानन, दे ही।।

चल आज लकड़ियों से दतु नया बनाते हैं गड् ु डे गड़ु ियों का हाथ पकि कुछ सपने नींद से बच कर सच कर जाते हैं

तू चल, मैं रं ग में बचपन ढाल के

इन बनारसी गललयों में कुछ पल जी के कुछ पल िो के आता हूाँ तू चल, आज किर प्रौढ़ता छोि हम बच्चे बन जाते हैं





Competitive Study


• The product price range can be standardized amongst the artisan community to ensure that products of each category follow a fixed cost structure at which they can be sold by the artisan to the trader or contractor. This will ascertain the artisans avail maximum profit margin and are aware of their hand work’s worth in the current market. • Government can come up with schemes to initiate regional exchange and skill training programs for the artisans. Also, care must be taken to give the craftsmen maximum exposure of the outside market, so that they may understand the customer demand and bring innovative styles to their own work. • A number of artisan communities and mini-industries thrive within the territory of Khojwan. One can identify these cottage units and efforts can be made( fund allocation, reach) to arrange for regular tie-ups with design institutes and professional designers as well as organize lectures for a dialogue between the contemporary designers and marketers working in the industry and the craftsmen for the mutual benefit of both. Most artisans( especially the master craftsmen) refrain from adopting new design techniques; the designers can help them to learn and identify the current trends.


• Regular artisan awareness workshops can be organized to educate the Shilpi card owners of the opportunities and preferences available to them. • Prices of necessary resources like machinery and electricity needs to be subsidised for lacquer toy craftsmen. Also, primary raw materials like chapda, raw wood can be sourced and stocked in standard government run warehouses and sold at wholesale prices to reduce exploitation. • While the lacquerware industry elsewhere in India make ample use of their by-product, the wood shavings, here at Banaras the scenario presents quite a different reality. Owing to the lack of a proper waste management system, awareness and efficiency, the by product remains unsold despite being actively used by the manure and agarbatti (incense stick) industry. • Government run production centres could be set up with free usage and ample supply of all machinery and tools required. Efforts can be made to increase women participation in the craft.



A website mockup was created for the sole purpose of promotion and creating awareness regarding the craft. In today’s scenario of cheap plastics and a mass population that is heavily influenced by popular media, we found the need of the hour is to not only make the people ‘see’ but also to gently guide them back to their roots and remind them of the culture and heritage, they are so inherently part of. This can be done by creating marketing campaigns that target customer values while bringing in design innovation. Thus, the government of Uttar Pradesh can follow the footsteps of the Karnataka government and build an official website for selling authentic lacquerware- right from the artisans' workshops to the customer. Promotions can be done accordingly. Since the craft is mostly sold during the wedding and festive seasons of Chhat and Diwali, this initiative can collaborate with greeting card companies and release postcards, calendars and badges with a scannable QR code and weblinks to the website. These can again be the part of the ‘creating values’ promotion campaigns. Also collaboration can be done with regional radio services for a maximum reach.



While the craft has preserved its grandeur over the ages, the shortcomings can't be long ruled out owing to changes that come with the new technology, design trends, customer awareness and the seemingly era of pop culture and modernity. Over the last few decades the society has registered major changes in terms of consumer lifestyle, demand, sales and attitudes. Western culture is effortlessly more highlighted while the traditional essence somewhere lags behind. One of the major changes witnessed in the past few years, the most prominent one proved to be the popularity of plastic toys, a much cheaper and durable variant. Besides, the craft has seen little or no innovation in the interim of this period and the limited availability of tools and machinery puts a major restriction in the types of designs that can be created and experimented with. Unlike the laser techniques used by competitors, hand crafting does not allow finer cuts, precision and sharper designs. As more and more brands, both Indian and international, adopt traditional motifs, reinventing them with their quirky design layouts and registering good sales it won't be wrong to predict that the demand is there. Brands such as Chumbak, Claymango, and Muji have resorted to the use of pop colours, traditional motifs and age old handicraft methods to attract a younger audience looking for something fresher and quirkier. The wooden lacquer industry needs a fresher perspective and a much wider range of products to attract this generation and reinvent the craft.


न जायते, सियते, वा कदाधचत ् न

अयम ्, भभत्वा, भववता वा न, भभयुः अजुः ननत्युः शाश्वतुः अयम ्,


शरीरे ।।

न, हन्यते, हन्यमाने,

इन आिों में एक चाह है बढ़ने की सुनहरी लहरों में खिल कर बबिरने की अंदाज़ तो तनराला है ही

उन हथेललयों में भी जाद ू है

घाट घाट मेहनत घाट घाट त्याग ये ही तो बनारस ए शान है

बस आज कोलशश है एक हाथ बढ़ने की आज कोलशश है कुछ अलफ़ाज़ अमर करने की






Touching Lives

Case Study



TOUCHING LIVES In their words


Our inexplicable sojourn down the lanes of Khojwan revealed to us the often unknown, undocumented faces behind the stunning artistry of the craft. We decided to engage and exchange a few dialogues with this artist community and document their work and their words through our initiative. Here are excerpts of our conversation with them as they try to share with us their hindrances, views and what might actually led to the craft decline.



Name: Deenanath Bhola Age: 45 Work credential: Lac stick manufacturer Members in the family: 5 Experience: 15 yrs Work hours: 8 to 10 hours Shilpi Card owner: No

A lacquer toy artist and one of the major lac stick manufacturer and seller in the Khojwan community, Deenanath has been in the trade since the past 15 years, since his father taught him the art. He believes that one of the reasons for the fall of the craft is the difficulty and exploitation, artisans often face whilst sourcing raw materials like chapda/ raw lac.

Name: Mahendra Gupta Age: 35 Work credential: artisan Members in the family: 4 Experience: 15 yrs Work hours: 7 to 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes


Name: Vijay Kumar Age: 60 Work credential: Master artisan Members in the family: 5 Experience: 40 yrs Work hours: 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes Vijay has known the trade since childhood and currently works on contract basis with export houses based in Delhi. He believes that lack of subsidy and support from the government has made this trade particularly vulnerable. He does not wish his sons to join him in the occupation.

Name: Motilal Age: 48 Work credential: Lac stick manufacturer Members in the family: 8 (6 brothers) Experience: 10 yrs Work hours: (depends on orders) Shilpi Card owner: No A lacquer toy artist and lac stick manufacturer and seller in the Khojwan community, Motilal is a seasoned artist who believes lack of awareness might be a cause for the decline. The artisan community sees sales only during the festive months from August to November. Winters are particularly harsh with respect to the sales.

Name: Amit Singh Age: 25 Work credential: Lathe worker Members in the family: 6 Experience: 8 to 9 yrs Work hours: 12 hrs Shilpi Card owner: No Amit works with independent contractors and believes that problem lies in the reach. He is yet to attend any skill training workshops, Shilpi card issuers exploit people and the subsidies never reach the artists’ bank accounts.

“ Mahendra thinks that despite the best efforts their attempt to sell of the byproduct, the wood shavings ended only in disappointment. The shavings have to be segregated and sell for a mere 15 rupees per tin.

� 94

Name: Madan Lal Gupta Age: 65 Work credential: Master artisan Members in the family: 4 Experience: 45 yrs Work hours: (depends on orders) Shilpi Card owner: Yes

As a master craftsman, Madan Lal had a lot to say. He believes that people nowadays look for variety in color and design and the value for the craft’s intricacy has significantly decreased.

Ranjit is an artisan who chose to set up his private business and currently exports lacquerware toys to cities all over Uttar Pradesh. Ranjit believes that standardization of wood prices is needed to reduce the exploitation. Also, supplying subsidized electricity to the artisans can go a long way in making the craft thrive.

” 95

Name: Rajesh Kumar Gupta Age: 38 Work credential: Lathe worker Members in the family: 4 Experience: 2 yrs Work hours: 10 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes Rajesh believes it was the government act of 1982 by Indira Gandhi, restricting the lumber industry that served as a major blow to the craft. While Rajesh learnt the craft from his father, working in the same trade since the past 40 years, and has seen some minor improvements in the sales, the craft market had never been the same since.

Name: Kishore Kumar Prajapat Age: 60 Work credential: Painter Members in the family: 5 Experience: 30 yrs Work hours: 12 hrs Shilpi Card owner: No Kishore designs and paints wooden lacquer toys and holds mindset that the government should do something instrumental immediately or the craft will die.

Name: Govind Ram Prajapat Age: 63 Work credential: Painter Members in the family: 6 Experience: 30 yrs Work hours: 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes Govind works with his wife and is known in the Khojwan community for his clean and sharp brushstrokes comprising particularly fine detailing and brushwork. Govind says while the prices of the end products have increased exorbitantly over the years, the painters saw little respite. The profession guarantees no earnings. No wonder the craft is dying.

Name: Ranjit Kumar Gupta Age: 61 Work credential: artisan, local business owner Members in the family: 5 Experience: 45 yrs Work hours: 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes 96

Name: Jaggu Gupta Age: 35 Work credential: artisan Members in the family: 4 Experience: 12 yrs Work hours: 12 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes

Despite working for hours and hours on stretch, Jaggu believes that the craft provides too less for a living, hence the decline in artisans.

Name: Nareem Kumar Patel Age: 52 Work credential: artisan, exporter Members in the family: 5 Experience: 45 yrs Work hours: 12 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes

Jawahi, a master craftsman, believes that one can make use of the current technology to make a better use of the wood shavings. While earlier, in the days of furnaces and fireplaces, the shavings could be counted as an additional source of income, today, it is as useless as garbage. ‘Why so?’, he asks

” 97

Nareem beleives that government schemes and support barely matters since it never reaches the artisans and exists only on papers, the money going straight into the pockets of NGOs and officials. While Nareem continues to dedicate himself to the craft, he doesn't want his kids (both in their youth) to get involved.

Name: Ramesh Age: 42 Work credential: artisan Members in the family: 6 Experience: 15 yrs Work hours: 7 to 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes Ramesh shares the view of other artisans claiming that the government schemes exist only on paper and never really reach the artisan.

Name: Dilip Gupta Age: 48 Work credential: wood seller Members in the family: 5 Experience: 15 yrs Work hours: 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: No Dilip is the leading raw wood supplier and warehouse owner in Khojwan, supplying over 10 to 15 quintal of raw wood per day. He believes, the craft’s decline might be due to the monopoly of wholesale wood suppliers over the wood prices. It is ultimately, the artisan who has to bear the cost.

Name: Jawahi Singh Age: 60 Work credential: artisan Members in the family: 6 Experience: 35 yrs Work hours: 7 to 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes


Name: Dinesh Age: 42 Work credential: artisan Members in the family: 6 Experience: 25 yrs Work hours: 7 to 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes

Dinesh believes the craft needs more awareness and a touch of modernity to keep up the sales.

Name: Godawri Singh Age: 58 Work credential: artisan, export house owner Members in the family: 5 Experience: 35 yrs Work hours: 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes Godawri is one of the most commercially successful artisan at Khojwan and a recipient of President’s award of excellence in handicraft. Owner of a workshop, he employs other master craftsmen (25 in number) and has managed to set up a rewarding export business.

Name: Nugesh kumar Singh Age: 58 Work credential: Owner of Balaji workshop Members in the family: 5 Experience: 25 yrs Work hours: 8 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes Nugesh owns a major wooden lacquer toys business catering to clients from all over the country and abroad. He says while the demand has increased by 50% after the craft’s GI tag status, the exploitation still looms.


Name: Shobhnath Age: 58 Work credential: artisan Members in the family: 7 Experience: 30 yrs Work hours: 6 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes

Name: Manoj Singh Age: 60 Work credential: artisan/trader Members in the family: 5 Experience: 40 yrs Work hours: 9-10 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes

Name: Amit Singh Age: 27 Work credential: Owner of Ban Ban Sindoor Wale Members in the family: 4 Experience: 10 yrs Work hours: 8 hrs

Shobhnath works at Nugesh’s workshop as a daily wage laborer since he cannot afford to buy machine and start his private business.

Manoj works on a contract to contrac basis for private clients and export houses. He believes, the current deteroiting status of the craft had forced him to adopt an alternate source of income.

Amit believes their have been no changes in the last 5 years but the crafts needs to have a much-needed revival to prevent it from dying.

Name: Prakash Age: 27 Work credential: Owner of New aggarwal Toys Emporium Members in the family: 4 Experience: 40 yrs Work hours: 9-10 hrs

Name: Bansilal Aggarwal Age: 40 Work credential: Trader Members in the family: 4 Experience: 20 yrs Work hours: 8 hrs

Name: Deepak Singh Age: 40 Work credential: artisan/trader Members in the family: 7 Experience: 30 yrs Work hours: 10 hrs Shilpi Card owner: Yes Deepak works at Nugesh’s workshop as a daily wage laborer Name: Lakshmi Maragan Gupta Age: 50 Work credential: master artisan, skilltrainer Members in the family: 4 Experience: 40 yrs Work hours: 8 hrs

Prakash works a set of private artisans on a contract basis. He maintains that over the last 20 years since the shop started the sales have dipped quite a lot irrespective of schemes and promotions.

Bansilal works with private artisans on a contract basis. He provides his own designs to keep in toe with the latest market trends.

Lakshmi believes that skill training comes with loads of opportunities and people should participate more actively in these for the common benefit of all. 100


/+ud]n It takes more than nimble fingers, unmatchable dextrosity and an undefeated mastery to dedicate oneself to a craft. It takes courage, passion and a long journey of hard work to surrender oneself to it. For Govind Ram Prajapat, the journey was a kaleidoscope of highs, lows and a number of obstacles faced along the way. The year was 1980 and association with the craft meant good business in a market still devoid of cheap plastic toy variants and spare parts. Besides, painting was a passion and the wooden lacquer industry provided an opportunity to express that passion. This was the year before Keria wood was banned by the government and the craft suffered a debilitating blow. Today, the landscape sits in a brilliant contrast from the earlier times. The golden days are long gone and the craft industry is barely thriving. The labor work is too much, the outcome too little”, Govind says as he continues to add colors to a nearby lacquer toy, wielding his magic with his confident brushstrokes.

“Everyday we see more and more craftsmen sending away their kids to colleges, or in search of a new occupation. Nobody wants to see their offspring go through the same struggles as they did. There are no new people willing to join the craft.” Amid government promotions, skill training, workshops and subsidies, what went wrong? “In the past one decade, the craft has seen a major downfall, as far as the sales are concerned. Consequently, in the past ten years, I have seen only a minor raise in our income, with little change in our living standards.” We dedicate 8 to 10 hours daily and our per day earning is a meagre 500 rupees. There are 3 working members in our family, but it is never enough to support the family or earn a living. There has to be an alternative source of earning. The passion, after all, fails to realise the other materialistic dreams.



Jff/f0f;L sf:y snf pBf]u What happens when a delegate of master craftsmen, young artisans still in their nascent age, small-scale business owners and youth in search of skill training, come together? They share and create ideas, exchange views and yield motivation and support to one another. Such is the ideology of this little community of the artisans of Khojwan. What started as a support group to ensure easy procurement of raw material, create awareness, and attract traders, today, is a thriving community of craftsmen, associated with the wooden lacquerware and a part of the Khojwan and Kahmiriganj craft community. This community is headed by Vishnu Bhagwan Gupta, a fellow master artisan and much revered figure amongst the community. Working for one and working for all is the common motto and the community keeps on organising regular meetups to discuss problems and raise issues. But that’s not it! In the past 15 years since its inception, these meetups have become the sites to form associations, discuss small-scale business ideas, get more contracts and open the gates

for new opportunities. In recent years the community has taken up these following roles. Offering financial support to the member in need via the traditional method of monthly fund collection and accumulation. • Create a sense of unity among the artisan community and raise voices to ensure better government schemes and policies. • Fight exploitation • Create a standardized pricing list of common products • Impart skill training • Bulk buying and distribution (by organising ‘mandis’) to ensure cheaper rates.

The community has gained followers and has improved remarkably since the inception. And why not? This is one of those things that spread positive vibes and keep the hearts motivated and throbbing in this tiny community, accommodating some of the most impeccable gems of the craft and the craftsmen.


s5 zAb ljz] i f1 s] ;fy & An encounter with Mr. Sheikh Abdullah, Assistant Director of the Department of Handicrafts, helped us to gain a deeper insight into the working of the government and obtain a wider perspective, but of the other side of the coin. Either way what are the views of an official entrusted with providing these schemes to the artisan community and ensuring that every artisan’s interests are met and provided for? Its is, after all, quite a task for a craft that has seen quite a decline in the past few decades. Mr Abdullah, though, shares a different view. “Well, the craft isn't dying you see. It needs innovation, revival, promotion and we intend to do just so with our schemes and policies. The government has contributed a lot to make it possible,” he says. Today, the awareness among the artisans pertaining to customer demand is more and efforts have been on to ensure maximum awareness and participation. 105

There are better opportunities available, better workshops, better communication channels and more returns. The government had introduced the process of issuing Shilpi cards, allocating an official status of a U.P. craftsmen to the artisans and bringing to them a range of benefits, from cheaper loans to subsidies, right at their doorsteps. According to the data of the Handicrafts Department, over one lakh ten thousand craftsmen own Shilpi cards as yet and the process of issuing is being regularly updated to keep adding more members. But, is everyone reaping the benefits of all the government policies available to the artisans out there? Our findings revealed a different story. Upon surveying the artisans, we found out that while the subsidies are being issued for both raw materials and electricity bills, the funds never reach the artisan. All assistance is somewhere lost in the monopoly of corrupted officials and dishonest middlemen who consume the funds without providing any assistance to the artisan in question. Another shocking find was that a number of artisans are tricked into sharing their Shilpi cards with their superior counterparts or NGOs acting as middlemen for

distribution of government subsidies. Thus, the craftsmen end up receiving little or no monetary assistance as far as schemes are concerned. So, where is the development? Just on the dusty pages of files lying somewhere stacked in the storerooms of official departments? While Mr. Abdullah refused to accept the illuse of Shilpi cards, he did highlight the gap in communication between the government schemes and artisans. He says,� Exploitation exist, but that is mostly a matter of their private rivalry and personal jealousy. Besides, Abdullah tells us that the craft has, indeed, registered a growth in and the GI tag brought international fame and brought the craft to grow by a hefty 25%. Abdullah believes that the primary reason behind the slow death is the lack of innovation as well as the sheer absence of motivation, among the artisan community, to introduce new designs and styles in their work. But is that the only reason? We definitely found a reason or two to doubt.




• • •


Artisan’s Questionnaire Trader’s Questionnaire Consumer’s Questionnaire

उद्धरे दात्मनात्मानं

नात्मानमावसादएथ |

आत्मैवा ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव ररपरु ात्मनुः ||

ऐ लाि बनारस गंगा की सेज में बस्ता रं ग ए बचपन, शान बनारस कला की मण्डली, हस्तलशल्प के स्वर यहााँ हर घर में सजता है संस्कृतत, मूल्य और यश

यहााँ गली गली उभरता है लाि लाि के धमम, कमम बनारस



• • • • • •

Name __________________________________ Contact No. ________________________________ Address Age Sex M/F Education Level: __________ illiterate ( ) primary ( ) secondary ( ) graduate ( ) other ____________ • Language Known: _______________________ • Comprehend ( ) • Read ( ) • Write ( ) • How many members are there in your family? ____ • How many children do you have? ____ • What is the age of your children? ____ ____ ____ ____ • Dwelling? Own house ( ) Rented ( ) Type of house Kutcha ( ) Pucca ( ) • If you own house, did you…? Purchased ( ) Inherited ( ) Constructed ( ) • Which craft are you associated with? _______________ • How do you came into this profession? •

• • • • • • •

• • •

• •

• • •

For how many years you have been practicing the craft? upto 5 years 5-15 years 15 years and more Ancstral Family members practicing in craft? ______________ Average number of hours denoted to the craft per week? _______ Are there any specific months? __________ Are you self-employed? ___________ Do you do anything else than this for livelihood? What are the leisure activities that you enjoy when not working? What encouraged you to take this craft? To popularize the craft Family business Individual Interest What all raw materials do you use? From, where do you source the raw materials? Are there any specifications that needs to be taken care of while acquiring the raw material (wood) ? What are the tools that are used? What is the entire procedure after the procurement of the raw material till the finishing of the product? What are the characteristics of the colour that are being used (eco-friendly/toxic/organic)? Are there any quality norms being followed? Have you explored any new materials other than traditional? Y/N What are the range of products being made (variety)? 110

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• • • • • •

What are the products being made the most? Jewelry and accessories Wall hangings Showpieces Toys Others What is the number of product produced in a month? 1-50 50-100 100-150 More than 150 Who decides the price for your products? Are you satisfied with the current pricing? Y/N How do you sell your products? Current monthly income of the artisan: Less than 2500 ( ) 2500-5000 ( ) 5000-10000 ( ) 10000-20000 ( ) 20000-30000 ( )Remarks________________________ Do you have a saving account? Bank ( ) Post-Office ( ) Other ( ) Are there any designers who have collaborated with you or approached you? Y/N Who gives the design? _______________ Are you working on? Traditional design ( ) Market demand design ( ) Latest design ( ) Are you aware of the government schemes such as USTTAD and Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana? Y/N Are you benefitted from the government schemes?

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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Are you a part of any self-help group or NGO? Are there any occupational health hazards associated with your craft practices? Do you have health/life insurance policy? Why Benaras is the chosen city for this cluster of lacquer? Do you know this craft is practiced in other regions of India as well? What distinguishes the Varanasi Lacquer from others? Y/N Do you know about Geographical Indication tag? Y/N Has GI tag benefitted you in any form? Has there been an adoption of new technique in development of craft because of any change of location? Have you received any training recently for upgrading your skills? Are these types of training good for you? Do you need further training? In which areas would you want to be trained? Skill development ( ) Marketing ( ) Capacity building ( ) Design innovation ( ) Better quality ( ) In last two years have you purchased any of the following? Land ( ) Cattle ( ) 2 wheeler ( ) 4 wheeler ( ) Electronics ( ) Mobile ( ) Gas connection ( ) Computer ( ) Any other item?

• • • • •

• • • •

Do you know how to use computer? Do you use internet? Personal ( ) Business purpose ( ) Both ( ) What is done with the wood waste that is produced? Do you know the waste being produced in this craft can be of use to other industries? (Maya Organics) Y/N What are the key issues being faced by you in this craft? What according to you can be done to uplift the status of this craft? What are your future goals/plans? What gives you inspiration to further continue this craft practice? Will you be contented with an online portal to increase the sell and profit by decreasing the intermediaries? Y/N



•   

How many members are there in your family? 0-5 5-10 More than 10

•   

Since how long have you been running your shop? 0-5 yrs 5-15 yrs More than 15 yrs

Define your price range.

•    

What is the profit percentage of the artisans for the products? 0-25% 25-50% More than 50% Fixed daily wage

How many artisans work under your guidance?

•    

How many products to these artisans make in a day? Less than 50 50-100 100-200 More than 200

In which part of making the lacquer toys are your artisans trained?

Which products are more in demand?

Which months see maximum sales?

•   

For how many hours does your artisans work in a day? 0-4 hours 4-8 hours More than 8 hours

•In how many places are your products distributed? •How many types of products do you sell? •What changes have you seen after the craft got its GI status? •What do you think is the scope and future of lacquer toys?



• • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • •


Name Contact No. Address Age Sex Education

__________________________________ ________________________________

M/F Level: __________ illiterate ( ) primary ( ) secondary ( ) graduate ( ) other ____________ Language Known: _______________________ Comprehend ( ) Read ( ) Write ( ) How many members are there in your family? ____ How many children do you have? ____ What is the age of your children? ____ ____ ____ ____ How often do you buy lacquer toys? What is the purpose of buying this product? For you children or for yourself or as a gift? Which product do you frequently buy? From where do you buy this product? Do you have any particular interests in buying handicrafts/ products that promote Indian arts and crafts? How much are you willing to spend on a Lacquer toy? What drives you to spend- interest in the craft or the product? Are the colors and the design in the product satisfactory? Do you think that products value for price? How does this product appeal you? Would you love to buy this product online? Are you satisfied with the packaging?

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Do you think that will the packaging attract more customers? Do you think that are the products safe for the children? What are your suggestions for a product and its packaging? If the product gets branded would you still buy the product? Does Brand image has an effect on your choice about the product? Will the high price of the product effect your preference to buy the plastic toys? What do you prefer wooden toys or plastic toys for your children? What are the other products you think could be sold of lacquer? Was the product accessible enough? Do you think that marketing of the product is up to the mark? Would you recommend this product to others? Would you like to comment on the general state of awareness among the public regarding the craft? What would you like to suggest to promoting this craft?

तस्मादसक्तुः सततं कायं कमाव समाचार |

असक्तो ह्याचरन्कमव परमाप्नोनत

पभरुषुः ||

इनमे हम हैं, हम में ये खिलौने हम में ये बचपना हम में ये बचपन के बहाने पल पल आगे चलते हैं पल पल कहातनया पढ़ते बुनते हैं इनमे हम हैं, हम में ये खिलौने हम में ये बचपना हम में ये बचपन के बहाने


xd Our sojourn at Benaras was a highly enriching, culturally beautiful and an eye opening experience. What started as a simple research project, became for us an amazing instrument to get a deeper insight into the world of a struggling artisan, the lesser known, oft undermined faces behind the talented hands crafting masterpieces. Our experience was further elevated by the fact that the initial idea of the project was not just to study the craft, but to analyse the difficulties faced by the artisans, their lives, hopes for the future and how they are single handedly promoting the craft, often carrying it forward as a family tradition. On a concluding note, this project was not only interesting to work on, but a very delightful and knowledgeable learning experience.







Profile for Shivangi Barwar

LAKHBANARAS (A TIMBER TALE) [Varanasi Lacquer Toys]  

A craft cluster document of diagnostic study of lacquer toys made in Varanasi.

LAKHBANARAS (A TIMBER TALE) [Varanasi Lacquer Toys]  

A craft cluster document of diagnostic study of lacquer toys made in Varanasi.