India Now - page 52

50
FEBRUARY-MARCH 2015
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Living History:
The campus
of the museum itself
is a creation of art and
beautifully exemplifies the
purpose of its existence
as a repository and
promoter of India’s crafts.
Keeping
Crafts Alive
National Crafts Museum provides a
platform to artisans to keep their traditional
skills up to date.
BY SANGITA THAKUR VARMA
I
ndian crafts are a living and breathing testimony to the country’s
rich history of diversity. The intricately handcrafted objects speak
silently to the onlookers of the creative calibre of the artisans and
their objectivity in capturing the myriad nuances of life. Their craft
thus becomes one of the most evocative historical means of know-
ing our past and hence must be preserved for posterity—an attempt that
the National Crafts Museum has been making since its inception in 1956.
The discovery of this aspect of India begins right at the entryway to the
National Handicrafts and HandloomMuseum, the other name of the Nation-
al Crafts Museum, which is situated within the Pragati Maidan Complex. As
soon as you step up the red stone cobbled pathway and into the dome shaped
entryway, you are transported away from the tinsel and noise of a 21st cen-
tury modern city to an Arcadian paradise. Lilting
music made by chirping birds replaces the grat-
ing noise of the traffic outside as you walk down
the quaint sloping dome with rows of windows
on either side. At the end it opens wide into the
verdure green of the campus. People are about,
some at work, some students, some visitors and
tourists. Low sloping building, thatched mud
huts, huge horse and elephant replicas, all under
a green canopy, greet you as soon as you step in.
The red earth brick-lined muddy tracks and
cobbled narrow pathways lead in various direc-
A
R
T
S
&
CULTURE
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