ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Organising the Unorganised in Kerala-Case Studies of Aruvacode and Kodungallur

Case Studies of Aruvacode and Kodungallur Jaya Jaitly Unorganised sections of society, particularly engaged in cottage and rural industry, have suffered considerable neglect. The two case studies of organising mat weavers of Kodungallur and potters of Aruvacode in Kerala record and narrate interventions to uplift these sections above poverty level The Hind Mazdoor Kisan Panchayat by organising 5,000-member strong co-operative society, put an end to starvation, indebtedness and suicide among women mat weavers of Kodungallur, while the Dastkari Haat Samiti, through restraining the highly-skilled potter women of A ruvacode, and marketing their wares to the middle class echelons, prevented the women from succumbing to prostitution. Though these efforts have helped to combat the adverse effects of structural adjustment policy on these two communities, policy support from state and central agencies is equally essential for such interventions to sustain over longer periods.

Village Industry Struggling to Survive

The deteriorating condition of village industry, the result of long neglect made worse by the recent economic reforms, is an ominous sign. POLICY attitudes towards the producers of handcrafted or handwoven items has been clearly coloured by colonial perceptions. The formal description of 'handicrafts', makes no differentiation between skilled handwork and artistic handwork. In India aristic manufacture whether for community occasions such as festivals or for daily use in domestic or farm life is an integral part of living, but this was at variance with the compulsions of the western industrialised world which partitioned craft and industry into compartments. Village industry was idealistic, romantic, a fading relic of a past age, while capital-intensive industry was the hub of the financial world across the globe. A 'man's' world of practicality corporate images, centralised control, economies of scale, stock exchanges and global strategies to capture markets.
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