India is a home ground of many cultures and art forms. Its diverse culture is what makes it a land of multifarious creations and innovations. Every region falling under the Indian territory has been preserving its art and culture since ages. However, with westernization and modernization seeping in every nook and corner, preservation of art and culture has become a mammoth task. There are many art forms that have already ceased to exist.
Some are on their way to becoming defunct if not saved.
As assumed by pundits, puppetry, an art form of storytelling via puppets, has existed in India for over 3000 years. Puppetry is existent is many rural parts in India in various different forms right from Kathputli in Rajasthan, shadow puppetry in Kerala, Kundhei in Orissa, etc. The sad truth about this art form is that there are just a few craftsmen left who know the skill of puppetry.
Hailing from Bihar, this art beautifully depicts gods, nature and symbolic images. It is a form of folk painting that women earlier used to paint on walls, paper, readymade garments, cloth, or even movable objects using natural and vegetable colours. It is believed that this folk art originated in the kingdom of Janak and then the British took it forward to Bihar. Women of all castes and communities would paint. This art form is also popularly known as the Madhubani paintings. As this art is only practised in one state, it never really came of that state which is why it stands high chances of dying away.
Mechanization poses a great threat to handloom weaving. Not just this, but also the western fashion trends have also impacted the handloom weaving industry all over the country. Moreover, in order to increase the amount of production, handloom weaving was replaced by giant machines. This has resulted in the loss of human touch in the garments. It takes almost a month to weave a beautiful silk saree or complete an embroidery design on a cloth, but the beauty the handwork adds to cloth cannot even be imitated by the machines and tools. Due to the efforts put into making such hand woven garments, they are also very expensive, making it even more difficult to live through. Plus, there are only a few families remaining who are into handloom weaving. They too are finding it difficult to keep the art alive.
An art, more specifically a craft form, is mainly popular in the state of Chattisgarh. It is also known as the ‘metal craft’. This art creates metal structures of horses, elephants, soldiers, and other religious images. Though it is a demanding handicraft in the domestic as well as the foreign market, there are very few tribes that are investing in making this handicraft. As a result, this 250-year-old art is facing major survival issues.
One of the most creative and also extremely useful handicraft, the Naga handicraft is the identity of the Naga tribe from Nagaland. The tribesmen use materials like wood, cane, bamboo, and other raw materials available in the forest, to make handicrafts which include baskets, bowls, shawls, hats, mats, shields, ankles, necklaces and so much more. Out of all the above-mentioned arts, the Naga handicrafts are at least seen in the markets. If not preserved well, these look will follow the way of other dying arts.
While these were just some of them, there are plenty of other art forms that are on the verge of becoming obsolete. These include the Kalamkari art, Tanjore, Warli Painting, Wildlife painting, etc. Losing these art forms is like taking away little by little the charm of Indian culture and its diversity. Before all of these go under the dark, we must take steps to restore and revive them.