Dastkari Haat craft bazaar begins in the capital

New Delhi, Jan 2 : The annual Dastkari Haat craft bazaar was inaugurated here Thursday with focus on Egyptian arts and crafts.

Around ten Egyptian artisans have come to the national capital along with two designers, and they would be attending a workshop with Indian artisans to exchange and develop their skills and productivity at the 28th edition of craft bazaar at Dilli Haat.

"The workshops will help us to recognise our strengths and increase productivity. We at Dastkari build skills that are created by people and not by technology," Jaya Jaitley, Dastkari Haat Samiti founder, told IANS.

"For sustaining livelihood and nurturing skills, these skills and crafts should be preserved," she added.

With Egypt in focus, Jaitley said "cultural links" between the two countries are strong and connected in many ways.

Also present at the event was Egyptian Ambassador to India, Khaled El Bakly, who supported this cultural exchange wholeheartedly.

"Everything in life starts with an idea. What you are seeing today was once an idea and it has matured into reality. What our craftsmen have brought here are very old and rare crafts, but they are very much close to Indian culture," he told reporters here.

Nurturing these craftsmen amidst political instability in Egypt is Heba Handoussa - founder of Egypt Network for Integrated Development (EDIP) that works for development in south Egypt.

She believes the India can help save Egypt artisans.

"The reason for me to believe so is Mahatma Gandhi. Post colonialism, he strongly advocated for handicrafts and artisans. This has contributed a lot in preserving your indigenous crafts," Handoussa said.

"We are having difficult time since 2011 uprising and artisans are completely ignored lot in our country," she added.

Egyptian handcrafted products like Nagada scarves, beads and jewellery, ancient Egyptian drawings on papyrus, camel bone paper cutters and embroidered wearable items can be purchased from the bazaar that will end Jan 15.

--IANS (Posted on 02-01-2014)

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