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Native Tradition and Changing Market Dynamics: The Future Sustainability of Hajo and Sarthebari Metal Crafts

Lakhimi Jogendranath Chutia1 & Mrinmoy K Sarma2

1Research Scholar, Tezpur University, Assam, email: clakhimi@yahoo.co.in

2Professor, Tezpur University, Assam, email: mrinmoy@tezu.ernet.in

 Volume 1, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/cjad.12.v1n201

Abstract

The article deliberates over the issue of sustainability of traditional crafts from the economic as well as tradition point of view. In the age of global competition when the world has become a small trading community, handicraft artisans constantly compete with machine made products and struggle for the sustenance of their age old traditional industries. The traditional brass and bell metal sector of Sarthebari and Hajo in Assam is going through a similar fate. Changing functional requirements and aesthetics orientation of modern customers are pressing artisans to modify certain traditional features of the crafts and innovate according to market demand. In addition to this, unrestricted flow of imported metal items also offers tough competition to the indigenous sector. Artisans complying with existing needs of customers, comparatively, do well in economic terms than those producing age-old products. As noticed, artisans also seem to continue the craft in future and encourage their kith and kin to undertake the occupation, since they find it a reliable income source. Meanwhile, change in archaic design and make of metal items raises the issue of sustainability of tradition. However, it is important to understand if harping on to tradition overlooking economic sustainability of producer of the craft can ensure the sustainable growth of the sector. The paper thus aims to highlight the present scenario of the industry and its future scope for sustainability by taking into consideration the artisans’ and market viewpoint. It extends suggestions based on the information gathered from the market and producer to ensure sustainability of the art and the artisan.

Keywords: Sustainability, traditional, economic, brass and bell metal crafts, artisans, Assam

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