Wednesday, 22 February 2017

FB Discussions - Khadi, Local Occupations, Sustainability

Someone commented on on AAP positively - 'politicians who look like us, and not khadi clad politicians of yore.'
But why. I wish everyone would wear khadi, and every village would have the chance to spin, and address the killing unemployment that they have been facing. My village people would gladly spin - they have been sitting unempoyed for ages now with succesive droughts.
I wore khadi for ages. Then I switched to handlooms, because of some reason I've forgotten now - that handloom weavers needed markets, and they get only non-handspun yarn, or something. I have never had reason to rethink or change that choice of moving to khadi and handlooms. 

Sunny Narang
Delhi CM Kejriwal and Co looking for bungalows in Lutyens' zone : North,…
Aparna Krishnan but how valid is this report, tired of half researched reports, and half truths.
Sunny Narang Dekhenge , aaj to jab tak hota nahin , kucch bhi ho sakta hai ;-)
Aparna Krishnan anyway i think simplicity and austerity are very silent virtues - which simply happen like a bud unfolding. they happen only when the mind is ready, and then it happens without the person even realising or mentioning it.
Sunny Narang Its not about simplicity but about what it represents . Mayawati had to show that a Dalit ladki can have homes in top localities of Delhi so she has homes in Chanakyapuri and Jor Bagh , in name of BSP. Politics is about projection and perception , as your friend said , AAP is middle-class people . Though there are many crorepati MLA's . Its ultimately all a game.
Sunny Narang The 6 of the 7 richest MLA's worth above 15 crores are from AAP !
Aparna Krishnan gandhi's simplicity sent out a message that echoed across time and space. Even if the arguments are brought it that his second class travel cost so much - it doesnt matter, because what it represented was the Inidan tradition of minimising needs, and that message was priceless.
Aparna Krishnan Every act sends a message, and is significant. I persoanlly wish AK and company would choose small simple homes.
Sunny Narang Now the need is to project "success" . And the only real measure is wealth . The only real message now can be "enabling" success . That is the aspiration of the millions of youth . Do not expect politicians to temper desire .
Aparna Krishnan and with rejection of modi's coat, the indian public has sent a clear vote of the relative merit as it sees of ostentation versus austerity.
Aparna Krishnan well, gandhi did. and he was politician of politicians !
Aparna Krishnan aspirations are made, they do not 'just happen'. they are moulded and nurtured.
Sunny Narang Its not of the cost, its of vanity . You could be wearing a pashmina coat and no one will know. Real style never shows ;-) Modi is a wannabe .
Sunny Narang Of course aspirations are moulded , but that is the whole basis of modern industrialism , to create new markets of endless consumption . I am just saying do not expect politicians in this day and age to talk simplicity .
Aparna Krishnan austerity and simplicity need to come back into vogue. like khadi was once seen as desirable. yes, against every modernity and worship of mammon, and consumerism, the battle has to be fought.
Aparna Krishnan and it can - because there is deep sanity in our villages. at the moment - but for how long i do not know under the assualt of the TV.
Sunny Narang Even Sri Sri or Ramdev or Jaggi will not talk simplicity . It does'nt have an audience . Khadi today is a luxury , as is handloom . Powerloom is for the masses .
Aparna Krishnan i know.
Aparna Krishnan we need to get more creative, and attain greater integrity personally. there is no other way.
Sunny Narang So the symbols have to be different , of creating a process of occupations that have less matter more imagination , of occupations that are about sustainability and building community .
Aparna Krishnan how ? I have felt that the most valid and sustainable occupations are those that have existed in villages, speaking in a real sense. The potter, the weaver, the thacher. These cannot be improved on by some bleeding hearts from the modern world, like us. Sustainablility and community, as you put it, were fully addressed. But in a 'practical sense', seeing the utterly messed up present that we are in, we need to respond in some practical and compromised manner. But the details need to be worked out - time has run out, and village people are sitting unemployed.
Balasubramaniam Thyagarajan Aparna Krishnan Do you honestly believe virtue is the monopoly of the poor only?
Aparna Krishnan not really. generally.
Aparna Krishnan well. we have more than we need today. and we are tempted to stash it away for future real and imagined needs. when there is hunger and need before us. so we the rich are compromised more than the poor are. thats all.
Aparna Krishnan and many of us have maids whom we pay a fraction of what we earn/ earned. thereby perpetuating a deep inequality. thats all.
Sunny Narang Aparna I was engaged with many artisans in a village in Rajasthan for more than 20 years . There are many different stories . Of skills that villagers themselves need like potter , but with piped lines and fridges who needs potters so much , also lighter and unbreakable stainless steel or plastic pots . So potters had to design stuff for urban markets , but still as electricity is irregular in summer pots were needed . The lac bangles, almost fully sold to local markets and extra to Jaipur wholesalers . Lohar changed to making parts for tractors . Hand block printers were always connected to urban markets and even exports since centuries . I listed at least 14 artisan skills, some reinvented , some vanished . Sonhars or jewellers very well integrated into both local and urban markets . There is no single story. The Ramgarhias or Tarkhans and Lohars of Punjab are what has built Hero and Maruti, they completely reinvented into modern industrialisation and are crorepatis themselves . I can tell you many stories . Patwas who made the rakhis and threaded the jewellery became mela to mela travelers to sell women beauty products . As you say, some need us urban types to reinvent, some don't , some vanish . I do not believe that ever there is one way of looking, Gandhian is just one of the many and he actually did not know much about the infinite varieties . Many skills like those who carved the Taj Mahal or the Rajput Havelis can only be supported by elite hotels .
Sunny Narang Even Dharampal writes how even by the early 20th century many skills had vanished . So this is a long going process . And many will be revived , many will die.
Aparna Krishnan I try to be unsentimental about disappearing skills. And tell myself that only the people matter. I tell myself that if they all have been told that a BPOs life is the best, and they beleive it, and the govt has enough BPOs put up - at least livlihood will be assured, and after that my sentiments are only mine. But deep down I know that those 'modern options' are at the least unsustainable. Apart from being ugly - which is my problem.
Aparna Krishnan Well, you make it sound as if people are adapting and surviving. I see a destituted potter's village. I see bamboo artisand who were weaving baskets for the mango mandi, suddenly unemployed when th cardboard boxes swamped the place. And I only wish the older communities were back in place.
Aparna Krishnan But they are gone - and we are in modern times, where electricity, even by itself alone has totally changed the dynamics of life.
Balasubramaniam Thyagarajan How do we reinvent? Change is going to be relentless. None can stop it. So what are the modern options.
I am not suggesting we should kill the old skills, however skill without livelihood, where would that leave us?
Aparna Krishnan So where do these people go ? There are not even so many BPOs where they can slave into the nights, and feel gratified that they are in the white collar jobs that their schooling taught them to desire.
Sunny Narang Well I know hundreds of artisans who have also reinvented . Rarely people block print now they do a hybrid of screen and block . Artisans all use chemical dyes and industrial threads for embroidery , Madhubani painting is all acrylic or water-colours now ! Its gone far ahead . Very few are left without exposure via mobile or TV . The way is to see how skills can be parallel to some other kind of occupation .
Balasubramaniam Thyagarajan Agree 100%.
Aparna Krishnan yes Sunny, i suppose. nostalgia is no use. and if the world is hurtling to an unsustainable end - so be it. but we have tried thinking with these communities - and to reestablish whole communities of artisans into the modern consumerism is not easy. Not at all.
Balasubramaniam Thyagarajan If destruction is inevitable. We can only buffer ourselves a little. I do not see how we are going to save ourselves from greed which is so pervasive.

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