Example of 'craft diplomacy': Indonesian envoy opens Delhi's crafts bazaar

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) The ongoing 15-day Dastkari Haat Crafts Bazaar, inaugurated on Thursday by Indonesian Ambassador Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro at Dilli Haat here, is hosting skill exchange workshops between Indian and Indonesian artists, something organiser and politician-activist Jaya Jaitly said is an example of "craft diplomacy".

The former Samata Party president and founder of non-profit Dastkari Haat Samiti, Jaitly said "everything is not about trade or strategy, or security and economy" and the best of diplomacy was craft diplomacy which brings art, culture, heritage and people together.

"Dastkari Haat Samiti is very happy to have Indonesian craftspeople here. Every year, from 2004, we have had craftspeople from one or the other country come. This is the first time Indonesia has come. We believe that is the best of diplomacy, craft diplomacy, which brings art, culture, heritage and people, all together. This helps people with their true heritage stories to come together," the 76-year-old Jaitly told IANS.

The fortnight-long crafts bazaar, along with bringing artisans and craftspeople from different Indian states, is also hosting two-week skill exchange workshops in the fields of three crafts -- Doyo fibre craft, pottery, tie and dye and Batik work. They are supported by the Ministry of Textiles.

The workshops, interestingly, pair Indonesian artists deft in these crafts, with their Indian counterparts in the same craft to "co-create and collaborate for long-standing friendships and new products that weave Indian-Indonesian histories and cultures together", Mayur Singh of Cooperative of Independent Traders of Asia (Coopita) told IANS.

"India and Indonesia, culturally, have more in common than we can think. It's showcased in the crafts we have. We are trying to show that through the workshops in three crafts together with their Indian counterparts," he said, adding that a poetry recital, scheduled towards the event's closing, by an Indonesian artiste will be on Mahabharata's Arjuna.

Another cultural performance interspersed with many Indian presentations, "Margapati" is a classic Balinese dance which tells one about a king of the jungle looking for his prey. This dance is mostly performed in festivals and as the offering dance to the gods in the temple, organisers said.

The event will also feature workshops and performances by flute makers from Varanasi, Sufi folk singers from Gujarat -- who will sing the poetry of Kabir, Mirabai, and Ravidas -- and tribal martial Chhau dancers from Bengal.

The 33rd edition of the crafts bazaar is featuring art, craft and textile works from over 180 artisans. Its entry fee is Rs 20. It will run from January 1-15 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.