Dastkar Bazaar is Pune’s one-stop shop for everything crafts and handlooms and a must visit for aficionados. Now, as Covid-19-induced restrictions take its toll on physical markets in the city, a mini Dastkar Bazaar has come up online to support the artisans and bring the product to the consumer.
The virtual marketplace will have a wide variety of options from Kavad Art to Kalighat Painting, Lambani Embroidery to Dhokra, Dhurrie Weaving, Bhujodi Weaving, Chanderi Weaving to Phulkari Weaving. While the virtual marketplace will be open till July 22, those who miss out on it would still be able to access the products on the website of Hands on Dastkar, which works as an e-commerce platform.
Established in 1981, Dastkar is a not-for-profit that supports traditional craftspeople, many of whom are women and based in villages, to help them regain their positions in the economic mainstream. The crafts sector in India is the second biggest employment generator after agriculture.
Dastkar recognises that while craftspeople have the skills, the sophisticated and urban markets are pushing them to them to brink, almost marginalising them. There still exists a gap the craftsperson, who mainly hail from rural belts, and the urban consumer. Dastkar aims to bridge this divide and also link the craftsperson with the consumer.
Since it came into existence in 1981, Dastkar has worked to preserve the future of the country’s rich and unique crafts heritage. Dastkar has been assisting the craftspeople through its support services, including workshops on capacity building, skills training, product development and collaborative design innovation; thus, helping them transform their traditional skills into products that appeal to the contemporary consumer. This, in turn, provides the craftsperson with a steady source of income and permanent employment.
Dastkar’s marketing platform empowers the crafts community to sidestep the exploitative middleman and operate directly in the market.