Kaarigar ki Kaahani

An artisan-led publication that shares stories, history and social practices of craft communities of India.


For conscious buyers, art enthusiasts and everyone else Kaarigar Clinic curates a one-stop forum to experience a day in the lives of our artisans and their resilience to sustain their centuries-old legacy; entrepreneurial journeys of craftspeople and MSMEs; stories about India’s rich art history and vernacular practices; and much more.  

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Haidar Ali Arora

Haider Ali Arora hails from Gujarat and has been practising the craft for 24 years. He is a 3rd generation artist. Haider Bhai, before joining his family business, had worked in several roles such as providing delivery services, running a shop etc. With the support of his family, he joined his traditional practise and since then has been working to grow it across India. Haider has travelled and exhibited nationally and internationally in countries such as Sri Lanka and Muscat.

A country with a strong community culture has an impact on our day-to-day systems and interactions. While Haider Bhai does not have any formal associations with an organisation, he gains constant support from across the state whenever needed. He mentions how, in times of crisis, people and places in the past have provided not only advice but monetary support to tackle unseen problems. Our power to confide in people makes us unique and exemplary. During COVID, he collaborated with artisans from other crafts like Patola, Kalamkari, and Madhubani to innovate across practices.

Haider's son is now enrolled at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar as a student of Textile Design, making him the first artisan to send their children to formal design education.

Bandhej, derived from the verb bandhana, means to tie. It takes him a minimum of 8–10 days to make one piece of 2 metres. We find the use of natural colours is limited in the process as it seeps into the tied designs, making the patterns formed unclear.

"जबसे मशीन का कम बढ़ा है रोज़गार कम हो गया है। देश आगे तब बढ़ेगा जब सबको रोज़गार मिलेगा। हा मशीन से शायद बेहतर फिनिशिंग हो पर हाथ का काम तो हाथ का ही रहता है। जिन्को इसकी पहचान है वो भाव नहीं देखते।"

As machine work has increased, employment opportunities for artisans have drastically reduced. The country will progress when everyone gets employment. Yes, there may be better finishing in machine-made products, but the value of hand-made remains unmatched. Those who recognise it do not see the price.

Dhara Ahir

Ahir community, living in the land of Kutch were originally pastoralists famous for their rich textile heritage. Ahir embroidery, also commonly seen as mirror work, is a women-based craft that for many families is a source of livelihood. 

Ahira, a fashion clothing label founded by Dhara Ahir is one of the first initiatives from within the community to strengthen their practice. It is born out of the urge to empower Ahir women to become independent, provide makers the recognition and remuneration they deserve and make people-led fashion a global phenomenon. Instead of imported clothing being a symbol of class, she believes in valuing and making the local global. Dhara envisions to make the craft famous worldwide and mark her community on the world map. 

Dhara was pursuing commerce after finishing school when she realised she had a true interest in fashion. She undertook a 3-year design diploma from Adipur. Dhara now seeks to utilise her education by carrying the legacy ahead. Crafts are a way of life for her, and she shares the genuine spirit of handmade with Ahira.

"जब हम स्थानीय चीज लेते हैं तो हम देश के विकास का समर्थन करते हैं। अगर हम बहार की ब्रांड्स लेते हैं तो पैसे उनके पास ही तो जाएंगे। हम आज भी एक विकासशील राष्ट्र है जहां बेरोजगारी और शिक्षा बड़ी समस्याएं हैं और उसमें हम अगर दूसरे देशों के बराबर आना चाहते हैं तो हमें भी तो देश का बना खरीदना होगा। 

मेरा संकल्प : सरकार के vocal for local मैं समर्थन और राष्ट्र के विकास में योगदान।"

When we purchase locally, we support the development of the country. If we buy from foreign brands, the money will go to them only. We are still a developing nation where unemployment and education are big problems, and if we want to be on par with other countries, then we also have to promote local.

My resolution: to support the #vocalforlocal initiative and contribute to the nation's development.