A wide range of arts and crafts — pots, textiles, jewellery, and what not — from five South Asian countries. Where can you find all this? At Dastkar Asia Bazaar. Craftsmen from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are in Delhi to showcase their culture and tradition at this ongoing fair.
“This is my second time in India, and I have got a lot of support. I am here with precious stones and jewellery which are native to my place,” says Suraiya Ahmadi, an artisan from Balkh (Afghanistan).
Samina Waqar, a designer from Pakistan, is attending the fair for the first time. “I’ve brought hand-embroidered suits and saris that our womenfolk make back at home. I have visited Delhi earlier as well and the experience is always good. We get a lot of love from people here,” she says.
Deepanshi Dutta, project coordinator, Dastkar, proudly adds that there’s more variety this year. “Delhiites love to buy khurja pottery from Uttar Pradesh, fibre baskets from Assam and paintings from West Bengal,” she says.
The 12-day fair also boasts of workshops, cultural performances and regional food stalls, with an aim to give visitors an aesthetic shopping experience that goes beyond malls and markets. “There’s always something new and interesting here. I try and come as often and as early as I can in the exhibition,” says fashion designer Anupamaa Dayal.
The bazaar is set up like a village, with colourful pots, lanterns and figurines along the paved pathways. At the West Bengal stall, a woman who paints Patachitra (stories) on canvas, sings along, describing the scenes from her paintings.
Like hers, every stall has a story steeped in heritage. The artists, however, complain that handicraft doesn’t get the appreciation they deserve. Dinesh, a weaver from Bhadoi (UP), says, “People think our craft is overpriced. They don’t see the effort and time it takes to make every single piece.”
The fair attracts a mixed bag of crowds, from expats to locals. Some are here to buy, some to admire and some, to find inspiration. Whatever their reason is, we are assured that with initiatives like these, Indian handicrafts will become mainstream, sooner or later.
What: Dastkar Asia Bazaar
Where: Nature Bazaar, Andheria Modh
When: August 11-22
Timing: 11am to 7.30pm
Nearest Metro Station: Chattarpur on Yellow Line