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The discourse of rape in India

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By Nithin Sridhar

In the state of Uttar Pradesh, which has recorded the highest incidents of gang-rape (570 incidents) and stalking (835 incidents) in the country for the year 2014, the recent statement about gang-rape by Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose son Akhilesh Yadav is the present chief minister of Uttar Pradesh comes as a grotesque irony.

Over the years, Mulayam Singh Yadav as well as other members of Samajwadi party (SP), have made some outrageous statements about women and sexual violence against women. These statements and opinions not only serve in understanding the perspective and world view of SP on the issues related to society and women, but also contribute towards understanding the nature of general discourse in India about the issues of rape and sexual assaults against women.

Let us have a look into some statements made by SP leaders and try to understand the discourse surrounding them.

Gang-rapes are not practical

At a function this Tuesday, Mulayam Singh Yadav was reported as saying,  “Often, if one person commits rape, four people are named in the complaint. Four people are named for rape, can it be possible? It is not practical.”

Though the comments were made in the context of incidences wherein false accusations of rape were made, SP supremo clearly stated that it is not practical for a girl to be raped by multiple men.

In the light of Nirbhaya gang-rape that resulted in nation-wide protests and the recent NCRB statistics declaring UP as having the highest number of gang-rapes, the question to be asked to our politicians is: How can they deny something, which is so obvious and present right in front of their eyes?

Statements like “gang-rapes are not practical” not only depict denial of facts, but also the attitude of the society to deliberately turn a blind eye towards certain issues out of sheer convenience.

The root cause of the sexual assaults against women lies with the attitude of people. The issue of sexual violence is seen not as an issue or a problem of the society. It is seen only as an issue related to women. This discourse on rape and sexual violence, which associates sexual issues with only women is the cause behind denial of incidents of rape not only with respect to women, but also with respect to men. Society is simply not ready to accept that even men can be sexually violated.

When it is said “gang-rape is not practical”, it is not only irrational, but is also insensitive. Perhaps the politicians think that when a gang of 4-5 people rape a woman one after the other, the woman should file individual cases of rape against each of the perpetrator.

It is horrible and outrageous to even suggest such things. Men and women are biologically different. Hence, men may not always understand the emotions and feelings of women. Further, incidents of men facing sexual assaults are also less when compared to molestation of women. Hence, most men may not understand how when a woman is raped, not only her body is hurt, but her mind and soul are tortured as well. But this ignorance of women’s emotions should not be used to deny tortured and raped women their victimhood.

This deniability of the possibility of gang-rape is basically a deniability of victimhood to the rape victim. Statements like one person must have raped and others just watched or they are innocent, are nothing more than attempts at denying that she was tortured both physically and mentally. Even if we assume that it is not a complete denial, it is definitely a denial of the degree to which she suffered.

Therefore, through the deniability of the possibility of gang-rapes, a rape discourse is being created that is aimed at denying victims their victimhood by first denying the degree to which they were made to suffer. This “discourse of deniability” must be exposed and discredited before any genuine understanding and discourse around sexual issues are established.

Boys will be boys, ‘mistakes’ happen

In 2014, Mulayam Singh Yadav had said, “Boys will be boys, mistakes happen.” He had further added: “First girls develop friendship with boys. After that, when differences occur, they (i.e. the girls) level rape charges. Boys commit mistakes. Will they be hanged for rape?

Even if one were to assume that these are innocent comments that intended to highlight the issue of false charges of rape filed by some women who get dumped by their boyfriends, the tone and the essence of the speech gives a very different picture.

What does a statement like “Boys will be boys, they make mistakes” convey? Are men born as sexual perverts? Or does being a “man” means being a pervert and a rapist?

These ideas of associating perversion with masculinity, raping someone as a sign of being male, or as a weakness of being a male constitutes the “discourse of rationalization.”

When it is no longer possible to deny an incident of rape, or deny that rapes happen, the next course of action is to adopt this “discourse of rationalization.” This rationalization is not only far removed from reality, it is an outright insult for both women and men.

In this attempt at rationalizing rapes, men are considered as sexual machines looking out to satisfy their desires. Further, the very essence of being a man is portrayed as being “perverted”. But, such a portrayal is not only far removed from ground reality, but it is not rooted in Indian cultural consciousness.

The Indian ideal of “manhood” is not judged by how “hunk” one is, or with how many women one has slept with. Instead, it is judged by the benchmarks of Brahmacharya (celibacy) and IndriyaNigraha (Self-control). The paurushatva (manhood) of a man depends upon how well he can control his desires, his senses and his mind.

Therefore, these attempts at rationalization of rapes and sexual assaults are not only horrible and insulting, but they are also against the traditional values of India that have been practiced from time immemorial.

The aim of such attempts at rationalization are two fold:

  1. To portray rape as a small incident that happened due to a slip of mind by which the sexually abused victim is reduced to become a victim of a simple ‘mistake’. Hence, all the suffering and torture faced by the woman, the gravity of the crime committed by the rapist are reduced to a simple ‘mistake’. When you cannot deny the crime, you deny the gravity of the crime and write off the sufferings of the victim through rationalization of the crime.
  2. To transfer the blame from the perpetrator to the victim, by rationalizing that it is in the nature of men to become sexually aroused on seeing women, and as this is beyond their control, they end up misbehaving with women. By extension, it is the duty and burden of the women so as to not provoke men to rape them. So, after denying the gravity of the crime and writing of the torture faced by the victim, the rationalization of rape discourse achieves shifting of the blame from perpetrators to the victims.

Therefore, this “discourse of rationalization” must be understood and removed.

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Absurd and mindless oratory

Rapes are of two types; forced and mutual consent.

In June 2015, Totaram Yadav, senior SP leader was quoted as saying, “What is rape? There is nothing as such. Rapes happen with mutual consent of boys and girls….Rapes are of two types, one which is forced and another that happens with mutual consent.”

This is a clear case of “discourse of confusion”. When the denial and rationalization of the reality of rape does not bear fruit, a discourse aimed at creating confusion is adopted.

What does rape by mutual consent mean? It has no meaning. It’s meaningless. Rape by its very definition is “forced”. But, this line of argument is adopted by society and its leaders to avoid any honest discourse and analysis regarding rape and sexual assaults.

By saying there is “rape by mutual consent” one is being forced to reconsider the very definition of “rape”. If this farce is not recognized for what it is, then we may even start believing that there is nothing like rape. For people taking this line of argument can clearly argue that rape victims are not really victims because they did not prevent rape from happening, and hence, there was a consent from the woman as well.

This discourse deliberately misses the point that the women protested against the assault, but they were overpowered. Or maybe, they can argue that, the fact that women were unable to physically resist, shows that they are meant to be treated like sexual objects, and hence, there is a ‘consent’ even there. That is, as the rape victims were not physically strong enough to fight the rape perpetrators, there was a consent in the sense, their body was naturally made to act that way and get abused by others.

These perverted arguments are endless and they are intended to create confusion and hence prevent any real discourse and discussion about rape and sexual violence. This is the “discourse of confusion.”

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SP leader Totaram Yadav spewing-out outrageous rape comments

If any woman goes along with a man, with or without consent, she should be hanged.

In a 2014 report, Abu Amzi was quoted as saying, “ If Any woman, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent.” He had further added that: “Rape is punishable by hanging in Islam. But here, nothing happens to women, only to men. Even the woman is guilty.”

This statement is a clear tactic of diverting the attention from the core issue by mixing it with another issue. Here, the issue of rape is being mixing with adultery and cheating and hence, the attention is being diverted from rape to a broader issue of cheating.

Let us consider the issue of adultery. Adultery is nothing but cheating one’s partner, and by definition it a consensual act. There is no use of “force”. So, why should death penalty be given for adultery? When adultery and rape are not connected in any way, why should their punishments be co-related? On the other hand, when a woman was forced to get physical with a man, it becomes a rape and the woman a victim.

What justice is it to punish victims? In both cases, there is no ground to justify punishments to women and to justify mixing up of issues. The intention to mix up issues, is to create a diversion so that the goalpost is shifted from “rape” to “adultery”. But, when analyzed properly, this “discourse of diversion” will stand exposed.

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Abu Azmi bites the dust on ludicrous rape comments

If anywhere rapes are minimum, it is in UP

In July 2014, Mulayam Singh Yadav had stated, “If anywhere such crimes (rapes) are minimum, it is in UP. The state has a population of 21 crore. Considering that, such incidents are very less.”

When everything else fails, one can always go for quantifying an issue and pointing out the “proportion”. This “discourse of quantification” aims to show that the statistics of rape incidents say that they are only handful, especially when they are compared to the total population.

In any issue, quality and quantity both have their own values and place. Hence, any discourse on any issue should give both quality and quantity their due importance.

But by opting for the “discourse of quantification”, one intends to submerge the essence of the rape issue by over-flooding the discourse with statistics about how a particular location has a lesser number of cases than some other location; or how the proportion of the crime with respect to whole population is very minute.

Rape remains a rape, it remains a heinous and horrible action irrespective of whether it is committed hundred times or just once.

This “discourse of quantification” that is carried out using statistics to suppress the content of a genuine rape discourse is the final tactic used by those who want to prevent and distort any genuine discourse about rape.

This is not to say that any one political party alone practices these perverted arguments to divert the attention from the real issue. Instead, the whole discourse and discussion about rape and sexual violence has been perverted. The statements of leaders from one influential party are an illustration to show how the perversion of rape discourse has become deep rooted in Indian society as well as in its people.

A genuine discussion about the issue is clearly missing from the general discourse in the society. In its place the society has absorbed and imposed the arguments put forward in the discourses of deniability, of rationalization, of confusion, of diversion and of quantification. It is high-time that the rape discourse is made free from these imposed arguments and discourses and the real issue is brought forward.

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Meet to sleep campaign undertaken by women on the support of the 6 year old gang rape victim

In a bid to make cities safer, the government has set up help lines and installed security cameras which was a great fail according to the rights activists. A six year old girl was raped in the state of Haryana.

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FILE - Indian women participate in a candle light vigil at a bus stop where the victim of a 2012 deadly gang rape had boarded the bus on what would become her final journey, in New Delhi, India, Dec. 16, 2014.
Indian women participate in a candle light vigil at a bus stop where the victim of a deadly gang rape in a moving bus had boarded the bus two years ago, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. The case sparked public outrage and helped make women’s safety a common topic of conversation in a country where rape is often viewed as a woman’s personal shame to bear. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
  • A 6 year old girl was gang raped int the state of Haryana
  • The gang raped was compared to The Delhi gang rape in 2012
  • “Meet to Sleep” campaign done by women

December 16, 2017: Five years after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old physical therapy student in the Indian capital turned the focus to violence against women, small groups turned out in New Delhi and several other cities on Saturday to highlight the need for safety for women in public spaces.

The “Meet to Sleep” movement, under which women took a short nap at a park, is one of several campaigns that have emerged in the wake of massive protests that rocked India after the gang rape. The symbolic nap highlights the need for women’s safety when they are most vulnerable.

“What happened to her [the gang rape victim] happened in a very public place, in a bus, which is a mode of transportation that many women use, but remains unsafe. Five years on, not much has changed,” said 26-year-old Kriti Omprakash.

Kirti Omprakash says that public spaces are still not safe for women in the Indian capital, where a horrific gang rape in 2012 turned the spotlight on sexual violence against women. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
Kirti Omprakash says that public spaces are still not safe for women in the Indian capital, where a horrific gang rape in 2012 turned the spotlight on sexual violence against women. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

The gang rape victim was assaulted by six men on a bus that she boarded with her male friend in December 2012. She later died due to the injuries she sustained.

Not only do sexual attacks targeting girls and women continue to pose a challenge – such incidents actually have increased, according to the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau. Delhi, considered one of India’s most unsafe cities, reported 1,996 rape cases in 2016, up from 1,893 in the previous year.

Rising voices

Women’s rights activists say the biggest change, however, is that women have become more vocal in demanding their freedom and safety and that the subject of violence is now discussed openly in a country where talk of sex crimes previously had been considered taboo.

A woman takes a symbolic nap at a park in New Delhi as part of a "Meet to Sleep" campaign initiated to highlight the need for more safety for women. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
A woman takes a symbolic nap at a park in New Delhi as part of a “Meet to Sleep” campaign initiated to highlight the need for more safety for women. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

“In the past five years, one of the most positive things I think is that those kind of agitations have taken teeth and grown,” said Kavita Krishnan from the All India Progressive Women’s Association.

In a bid to make cities safer, the government has set up help lines and installed security cameras, although that has failed to be a deterrent, according to rights activists. They express disappointment that despite the tightening of laws for rape and sexual harassment, crimes are still surging, sometimes against very young girls.

“We feel very, very let down by the system, by the government. The gruesomeness of crime has increased,” says Ranjana Kumari at the Center for Social Research in New Delhi. “There have been very, very young children who have been assaulted in most brutal way.”

Less than a week ago, a six-year-old girl was found murdered with grave sexual injuries in the northern state of Haryana – a case whose brutality led to comparisons with the 2012 bus gang rape.

Women activists say movements like "Meet to Sleep" have increased in the wake of the 2012 gang rape. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
Women activists say movements like “Meet to Sleep” have increased in the wake of the 2012 gang rape. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

Legal efforts

The mother of the gang rape victim, Asha Devi, also expressed anguish over reporters asking, “Women and girls are still being raped, what changed? The city is as unsafe as it was five years ago.”

Activists also worry about what they feel are efforts to dilute the tough laws that were instituted after the gang rape to punish men and point to a judgment.

Earlier this year, a judge set aside the conviction of a Bollywood filmmaker for rape after ruling that a “feeble no” could indicate willingness on the part of the victim.

Kavita Krishnan stresses the need for more mobilization of the kind that was seen in the wake of the 2012 gang rape to continue to keep the focus on women’s safety and freedom.

“We cannot celebrate the 2012 movement without realizing what is happening around us right now. It has to be a continued fight. It can’t just be a ritual obeisance paid to the 2012 moment,” she said. (VOA)

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7 Most Famous Temples to Visit in Uttar Pradesh

show up at these temples on your visit to Uttar Pradesh and enjoy the majestic beauty, architecture and not to miss, the devotional sound of the bells.

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Uttar Pradesh
Prem Mandir one of most famous temples in Uttar Pradesh. Wikimedia.

The state of Uttar Pradesh is regarded as an enshrined pilgrimage junction since the inception. Devotees from across the world solicit spirituality by visiting these temples of divine importance. Uttar Pradesh is known for its special attraction especially for the Hindu devotees since it is the birthplace for Vishnu avatars, Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.

Undoubtedly, you must show up at these temples on your visit to Uttar Pradesh and enjoy the majestic beauty, architecture and not miss, the devotional sound of the bells.

The listicle shows you a tour of these famous temples worth giving a visit in Uttar Pradesh.

Prem Mandir

Uttar Pradesh
Prem Mandir is one of the most famous temples in Uttar Pradesh. Wikimedia.

Built on the outskirts of Vrindavan, the Prem Mandir is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It was structured by the Fifth Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj. Statues of Lord Krishna and his followers cover the entire temple symbolizing the crucial events of Lord Krishna’s life and birth. The temple is known for its exquisite architecture and the sculptures. Devotees visit the Prem Temple to offer their prayings to Lord Krishna, during Janmashtami and Diwali.

Banke Bihari Temple

Uttar Pradesh
Banke Bihari temple main gate in Vrindavan. Wikimedia.

The Banke Bihari Temple of Vrindavan is a Hindu temple built by Swami Haridas, the solemn guru of the ancient singer Tansen. The temple is efficiently carved in Rajasthani style. The literal meaning of Banke is “bent in three places” and Bihari means “supreme enjoyer”, which suggests that the main idol Lord Krishna is in a Banke posture or the famous Tribhanga position. It has been claimed that Lord Krishna’s statue was hidden underground by a Hindu priest during the Mughal era. It was Swami Haridas who dreamt of Lord Krishna asking him to release the statue. Swami Haridas dug up the place, found the statue and built a temple for it.

Ram Janma Bhoomi Temple

Uttar Pradesh
Ram Janam Bhoomi Temple in Uttar Pradesh. Wikimedia.

Although Ayodhya is presumed as the birthplace of Lord Ram, it was in the town of Ram Kot where he was actually born. This temple is known as Ram Janma Bhoomi marking the divine presence of Shri Ram. Travellers visiting Ram Kot in Uttar Pradesh pay their homage to Lord Ram and admire the inscriptions on the temple walls depicting the life of Lord Ram.

Goraknath Temple

Uttar Pradesh
Gorakhnath Mandir in Uttar Pradesh.Wikimedia.

The Gorakhnath Temple is one of the most popular temples in Uttar Pradesh and is believed to have been structured at the exact spot where Saint Gorakhnath had meditated. The main feature of the temple is the garb griha where the saint is depicted as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Tourists also visit the pond next to the Goraknath Temple called Mansarovar for peaceful meditation or boat rides.

Shri Krishna Janbhoomi Temple

Uttar Pradesh
Sri Krishna Janam Bhoomi Temple in Uttar Pradesh is the birthplace of Krishna. Wikimedia.

Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi is one of the most sacred places for Sanatan Dharmis (Hindus) since it is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. It is a prison cell belonging to his mama (maternal Uncle) Raja Kans where Lord Krishna was born.

Located in Mathura on the banks of river Yamuna, Uttar Pradesh, Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi temple is approximately 145 km from Delhi. The prison cell, commonly known as ‘Garbha Griha’, in the temple premise is the exact place where Lord Krishna was born.

Sarnath Temple

Uttar Pradesh
A Buddhist temple at Sarnath. Wikimedia

This famous Buddhist site in Varanasi, Sarnath Temple is popularly known where Lord Buddha addressed his first sermons. It is here where the lord set the ‘wheel of law’ in motion. Stupas like Dhamek Stupa and Chowkhandi Stupa are situated inside the enshrined temple. The temple aims to inculcate its thousands of visitors about the history and impact of Buddhist cultures.

Bharat Mata Mandir

Uttar Pradesh
Bharat Mata Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh has the Indian Map structure inside the temple. Wikimedia

The temple located in Varanasi is dedicated to Bharat Mata with the national flag in her hand and a tri-colored sari adorning the idol, who is regarded as a symbolized figure of unity in Diversity and integrity in India. It acquires a huge map of the Mother India on the ground denoting the statue of the Goddess or the Mother of India.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana

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The history and development of Indian Handicrafts

Handicraft production was the second biggest source of employment in the pre-British India

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History of Indian handicrafts
History and development of Indian handicrafts. Pixabay
  • Handicrafts are the products which are mostly made by hand.
  • The history of Indian handicrafts can be divided into three eras: Pre British, British era, and Post Independence.
  • Clay craft is the earliest form of crafts to have existed in India.

New Delhi, September 28, 2017: Handicrafts in India have a long history. From ancient to the contemporary times, handcrafters have preserved this art. This art has been passed on from one generation to the next. Pottery making, in fact, is one of its forms, whose existence can be traced back to the Harappan Civilization.

What are handicrafts?

Handicrafts are products that are produced either completely by hands or involve tools. Mechanical tools could also be used as long as the manual contribution of the artisan remains the central component of the produced object. The production of these crafts require great skill and represents a particular expression, culture or tradition. Handicrafts could hold a number of values, some of them being aesthetic, cultural, decorative, utilitarian, religious, functional etc.

Historical Perspective of Indian Handicrafts:

To understand the historical perspective of Indian handicrafts, we need to go back in time. Let’s take a look at the development and decline of the artisanal production under three different time periods: before the arrival of British in India, Under colonial rule, and after India got independence.

History of Indian Handicrafts Before the arrival of British:

Art and crafts, as we have already mentioned, has been a tradition in India since long. Textiles, the most important of the Indian handicrafts, reached the zenith of perfection during the Mughal period. While under Mughals, it was the art of weaving and silk spinning that scored refinement; it was metal works, ivory works and jewelry that reached great potential during the Gupta period. The handicrafts production during that time can be divided in four broad categories. The first category dealt with the village economy under the jajmani system, in which the products were articles of daily use. The second category was integrated with the urban areas, where artisans produced crafts mainly for the purpose of sale. The third category concerns the dadni system, in which the merchants advanced cash to the artisans for production. The final category includes the Karkhanas, where skilled artisans produced luxury crafts under the command of kings or high nobles. Handicraft production was the second biggest source of employment in the pre-British India.

History of Indian Handicrafts Under Colonial Rule:

Under the British rule, production of Indian Handicrafts faced a rather sharp decline. When the East India Company was in power, it forced monopoly over the production of artisans from Bengal, and the price of these products were fixed 15-40% lower than their actual market price. What came as the biggest blow to the Indian artisans, however, was the removal of most of the Indian princes and nobles, which as an effect, led to the destruction of the artisan’s major market.

History of Indian Handicrafts Post-Independence:

The plight of the artisans and the cultural importance of artisanal production was taken into accord after India got independent. The establishment of All India Handicrafts Board in November 1952, to look at the problems and find solutions concerning Indian Handicrafts; the Handicrafts and Handloom Export Corporation of India Ltd in 1958, to promote handicrafts exports; Opening of Crafts Mueseum in 1953 in Delhi, to develop people’s interest in handmade Indian goods, all alluded to the idea that India had finally realized the importance of its art and crafts, and did not want to leave any stone unturned for its development.

A brief history and development of different form of handicrafts in India:

  • Clay craft and pottery: Clay craft is the earliest form of crafts to have existed, in India or in the world. A simple earthenware made of clay or ceramic has been created and used by the rural population for centuries. Potters have had an integral traditional link with the villages. The earthen pottery has only been developing, with the addition of new colors, figures of gods and goddesses, and decorative elements like flowers.

Main centers: Uttar Pradesh (Nizamabad and Chinhat), where the pottery is dark black; Bengal which produces large figures of gods, especially on the occasion of Durga Puja; In Kashmir, Srinagar is the place where special glazed pottery is made; Terra-cotta roof tiles are a tradition in Orissa and Martha Pradesh; both Rajasthan and Karnataka are popular for their black pottery; Manipur in the northeast is also famous for its pottery.

History of Indian handicrafts
Clay craft or pottery. Pixabay
  • Wood craft: Wood craft is widely produced and used throughout the country, with the most important products being household furnitures, carts and decorative objects. Baskets for storage and Toys, both for play and decoration are also made on a large scale.

Main centers: The elegant use of wood by skilled craftsmen can be seen in the houses at Gujrat and Kerala. Kashmir acquires a special position in this category of craft, with the walnut and deodar being the most favorite woods there. Saharanpur in U.P is also quite famous for its wooden furniture and objects of decoration.

History of Indian handicrafts
Wood craft. Pixabay
  • Metal craft: Copper was the most widely used metal in India before Iron joined in. Utensils, jewelry, dagger, axe heads etc in the harappan finds suggest that casting of copper objects made use of moulds. Bronze was also an important metal for the artisan production. The skills of craftsmen on metals are of various types, such as embossing, engraving, moulding etc.

Main centers: Kashmir (Srinagar) and Ladakh (Zanskar) are the two main centres. In Uttar Pradesh, Moradabad, Aligarh, Varanasi are the main centres of metal craft. Kerala specializes in the bell metal, whereas Bidar in Karnataka is noted for its Bidri work. Tribal groups in India also appear to hold their specific metal craft traditions.

History of Indian handicrafts
Metal craft. Pixabay

Also readMedha Tribe which masters in Weaving unique Bamboo Handicrafts are facing threat of extinction in Mysuru Region

  • Stone craft: Stones, without a shadow of doubt, have been there with humans since the earliest. They have been crafted into various products such as tools, decorative objects, sculptures and even jewelry. Statue of Yakshi of Didarganj is one fine piece of stone sculpture and dates back to the Maurya period. Majestic Qutub Minar in Delhi, and forts at Agra, Delhi, Jaipur are all works of stone craft.

Main centers: Rajasthan due to a large availability of stones tops the list of most prominent places for stone works. Salem district in Tamil Nadu also makes it to the list along with Gaya in Bihar. The stone cutters of Orissa also share a long history with the craft.

Main centers of Indian handicrafts
Stone craft. Pixabay
  • Ornaments and jewelry: From grass jewelry to that of gold and diamonds, one can witness great diversity when it comes to ornaments and jewelry in India. Gold, gems, silver, diamonds, other metals and precious stones are some materials used for making ornaments. Bones, horns, sea shells, lac, glass etc are also used in many  parts of the country to create ornaments. The Harappan finds revealed a number of ornaments, indicating their existence since long. There are many references in Ramayana and Mahabharata of gold being precious objects.

Main centers: Western ghats and Matheran in Maharashtra are noted for grass ornaments. Gujarat and Rajasthan share a rich and long tradition of jewelry. Kashmir is one of the most prominent places, again, with its exquisite jewelry, Varanasi and Awadh of U.P. are famous for gold studded jewelry.

History of Indian handicrafts
Ornaments and Jewelry. Pixabay
  • Textiles: India had had one of the richest traditions of textiles made from different raw materials. It won’t be wrong to say that Indian textiles tend to reflect Indian culture and religious beliefs. Bengal was the chief center of cotton production and Carpet weaving reached its zenith at the time of Mughals. The most commonly knows fabrics are cotton, wool and silk. The three main techniques used for patterning are weaving, embroidery and dyes.

Main centers: Orissa and Andhra Pradesh are famous for ikat fabric, Gujarat and Rajasthan for bandhani, U.P. and Bengal for jamdani fabrics. Rajasthan is also noted for Masoria fabric.

Indian handicrafts
Indian textiles. Pixabay

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha