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Go green: Shop for eco-friendly handicrafts at Delhi’s Dastkar Basant Bazaar

The ongoing Dastkar Basant Bazaar offers a range of handicraft items that are upcycled and make creative use of waste.

art and culture Updated: Feb 26, 2018 10:28 IST
Press Trust of India
Dastkar,Dastkar Basant Bazaar,Handicrafts
The 10-day Dastkar Basant Bazaar, which started on February 15, boasts of several shops selling handicrafts — from traditional folk arts to eco-friendly ones.(

Pen stands made out of audio cassettes and folders embroidered with tapes, photo frames embellished with shards of egg shells, and handbags made of newspapers are only a few colourful handicrafts articles lined up at the Nature Bazaar in Delhi. What sets them apart from other offerings like crochet, chikan embroidery and Kutchi handicrafts at the ongoing Dastkar Basant Bazaar is their distinctly eco-friendly nature.

In one of the stalls, named Trash to Cash, Dilip Kumar Prajapati is selling these products which are mainly made from recycled material. Working with the Society for Child Development, a Delhi-based NGO dedicated to people with disabilities, Prajapati, along with around 170 other differently-abled persons, has found employment through handicrafts made from waste.

“People hardly give jobs to differently-able people,” rues Prajapati, who is more than 70% visually impaired. Through this initiative, he feels that they are not only earning their bread and butter, but also “contributing a bit to a clean-and-green environment”.

Apart from daily-use items made from waste, the stall also offers incense sticks and Holi colours made from flower waste. The 10-day Dastkar Basant Bazaar, which started on February 15, boasts of several such shops selling handicrafts — from traditional folk arts to eco-friendly ones.

From the ethnic jewellery, Parak of Ladakh, Madhubani/Mithila paintings of Bihar, to the popular Channapatna toys (wooden toys) from Karnataka, the fair has a mix of rich folk art laden with a touch of care for the environment through organic colours. Basant, meaning spring, symbolises the blossom of flowers and renewal, said Laila Tyabji, crafts designer and founder of Dastkar — an NGO working for the revival of traditional crafts in India.

“The Dastkar Basant Bazaar is also a coming together of crafts people, grassroot NGOs, organic and eco-friendly practices, and a galaxy of textiles and garments, home decor and furnishings, traditional folk art, accessories, gift items, toys, herbal and recycled products,” the Padma Shri awardee said.

One of the traditional forms that is prominent in the fair is Phad paintings — narrating a story through paintings. Painted with natural dyes and colours made from stones on handmade canvas, this Rajasthani art form is used to depict stories ranging from historical to contemporary subjects, as artist Rohit Jha told us.

Describing this 700-year-old form as a dying art, Jha exudes determination to teach the skills to a younger generation so that the sun never sets on art. “There are very few people at present who practise this art. There are many art forms that have become extinct due to poor preservation...That is why we are carrying it forward. If we stop, Phad paintings will just become a memory,” he said.

The art bazaar will come to an end on February 26.

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First Published: Feb 26, 2018 10:16 IST