Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal has asked his ministry to formulate a minority education strategy focusing on reviving dying crafts practiced by Muslim artisans, many of whom now live virtually in penury.
The strategy will focus on hamlets of traditional artisans and craftsmen. It will include training them in modern skills needed to keep their craft alive, and on taking these crafts to modern educational institutions, government sources have said.
“We want to make these traditional arts and crafts a part of mainstream education so that today’s students learn about them study them, and take these crafts forward,” an official said.
Knowledge is passed on from generation to generation in the families of these artisans, but is not expanding beyond these select families. The new strategy is based on concerns that the knowledge held by them may soon expire unless taught to a broader segment of students.
Sources cited the example of Islamic architecture, which is understood and practiced only by families involved in building and maintaining structures like mosques. “There is a need to include this knowledge as a part of mainstream education in architecture schools,” a source said.
The HRD ministry is keen to involve leading Muslim educationists and philanthropists in this project. “We will soon call a meeting with select Muslim educationists and philanthropists,” a source said.