street business

Mission derailed: Dilli Haat is meant for artisans but dominated by traders

The number of genuine craftspeople at the popular crafts venue has been dwindling.

Over the last two decades, Dilli Haat has become the first choice for anyone seeking to explore Delhi’s handicrafts scene. It is the go-to place for a wide variety of goods – from sturdy kolhapuri chappals to pottery, handloom, art and, of course, cuisines from various regions of India.

The South Delhi complex, established in 1994 by the Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation Ltd, the Ministry of Textiles and the Ministry of Tourism, was modelled on the lines of a rural bazaar, where artisans get pride of place and shoppers get a chance to chat with craftspersons. Dilli Haat sought to eliminate middlemen and offer traditional crafts at affordable prices.

However, over the years, the number of genuine artisans in Dilli Haat has been dwindling. Most of the approximately 200 stalls are now occupied by the middlemen and traders that the establishment had sought to keep out, alleged Jaya Jaitly, president of Dastkari Haat Samiti, a national association of Indian craftspeople, and one of the founding members of Dilli Haat.

Underhanded methods

Technically, only craftspersons registered with Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) are eligible to set up stalls at the Haat, which are allotted on a rotational basis for a fortnight at minimal rent. However, the reality these days is quite different, Jaitly said.

“Many traders posing as craftspersons have come to occupy the stalls permanently," she said. "They have found about 20 different ways to keep sitting there through underhanded methods and have taken on the form of an ugly mafia. They gang up against any honest official trying to enforce any rules and threaten to beat them up."

As evidence of this, she said that some of the traders have become bold enough to get business cards printed with stall numbers mentioned on them.

Jaya Jaitly, president, Dastkari Haat Samiti (Photograph from www.facebook.com/dastkarihaatsamiti)
Jaya Jaitly, president, Dastkari Haat Samiti (Photograph from www.facebook.com/dastkarihaatsamiti)

Among the most popular events at the venue is the annual Dastkari Haat crafts bazaar organised by Jaitly's outfit. Each year, she said, the Dastkari Haat Samiti is allotted 164 stalls by the Ministry of Textiles for the event. The organisation also uses the remaining 35 stalls that are controlled by Delhi Tourism. This year, however, they were told that the 35 stalls would be allotted via a lottery system.

“Sales and footfalls are highest in the year during the Dastkari Haat programme,” Jaitly wrote in an email addressed to the Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation Ltd and Ministry of Textiles. "This benefits everybody, including Delhi Tourism. Due to this, many traders who have come to occupy Dilli Haat stalls permanently through many underhanded and unfortunate ruses want to somehow occupy the other spaces even during our event to avail of these benefits, our effective publicity, decor and special efforts."

Eventually, the Dilli Haat management did agree to allot the stalls to the Ministry of Textiles. The fortnight-long Dastakari Haat Bazaar ends on Friday.

Official action

Ashok Kumar Kuril, assistant director, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, agreed that Dilli Haat was not functioning according to the original plan. Stalls allotted to artisans are sublet to the traders at very high rents, he admitted. The demand, he says, is highest for the stalls near the entrances that attract the largest number of customers.

“We conduct regular raids and inspections," Kuril said. "We shut down stalls and take away cards from anybody flouting the rules but they always spring up again. We take the police along but the effect is short-lived. We are obviously not attacked when accompanied by the police but they find us later."

Kuril alleged: "At some level Delhi Tourism is abetting this phenomenon and that is what needs to be stopped.”

Despite repeated requests for clarifications, the Dilli Haat management, under the purview of Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation, refused to meet the Scroll reporter.

Lax standards

The alleged malpractices have resulted in a decline in the quality of products on sale, Jaitly said, compromising the idea of what the establishment stands for. Kuril agreed, saying that items that have been cheaply manufactured in factories are displayed as authentic handicrafts and sold at exorbitant prices.

Jaitly has suggested that one way to get Dilli Haat back on track is to shut it down temporarily. “If DTTDC is so keen on higher incomes, overriding the fact that this is a unique market for genuine craftspersons, it is better to sell alcohol there and increase its income rather than let a mafia group run policies of Dilli Haat occupancy," she said. "Perhaps it is time for persons like me who conceived of the concept of Dilli Haat with an idealistic vision to give a public call to close it down.”

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.

Play

So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.