Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Introducing the Daricha blog

Hullo friends & well-wishers!

Now that the website is up and running, after many months of birthing pains; I thought I would start a blog to keep you posted about what is going on in the folk and tribal art world. But just to start us off, I thought I would answer a question I have been asked a lot over this last year or so.

During my time as the webmaster of www.itcsra.org, the website of an internationally renowned Indian Classical Music Academy, I’d come to realize that though there was no dearth of online information on classical music in India, the same could not be said about the country’s folk and tribal art forms.

India has a wealth of such art forms, but the awareness, popularity and respect given to them is negligible. There is no lack of folklorist expertise; much research has been undertaken and many books have been written, primarily in the vernacular. But these are inevitably relegated to dusty corners of local bookstores and libraries. The only hope of bringing knowledge about our rich folk heritage into easy circulation is through our favoured medium today -- the internet. A few travel and tourism websites offer superficial and selective details. But no website attempts to consolidate information for global dissemination.

Enter Daricha. :)

With an abiding passion for music and folk crafts, I decided to take on this project as a personal challenge and as my contribution to society. However, i realized that my vision could be achieved  - shift from part time pursuit to major project - only with the help of a team. Friends who shared my vision came on board and Daricha Foundation was born. To help matters along, i gave up my job to devote myself wholly to this project. Other friends have pitched in since, helping out, in oh so many ways. We all believe that - yes, we can - make a difference...

The folk and tribal artists themselves live mainly isolated in their villages, most of them without opportunities to showcase their talents. Some might find their way to annual government-organized craft festivals or festivals organized by some NGOs in urban spaces. But while some initiatives have resulted in greater exposure of a few chosen forms, a great many more are dying a slow death for want of awareness, interest and support combined with the increasing encroachment of urbanization and cultural dilution. These artisans have put away their tools, found other occupations; children of artists are no longer encouraged to learn their traditional arts or crafts due to its lack of economic viability.

My vision for Daricha is that it will reverse the decay through the creation of awareness and demand. That the urban Indian (and people of the rest of the world) will rediscover their love for the colour, drama and beauty of these indigenous art forms and bring back the life and prosperity it rightfully deserves.

It is of course not as easy as all that, but I’m confident that by bridging the gap between the artists and their prospective market; and shining a spotlight on the nuances and history of the art forms it can be achieved over the course of time.

Do take a look at the site, and let me know if you think it is aligned to our objectives. We are always open to feedback.

Ratnaboli Bose.

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