ICH Documentation Project: Thateras of Jandiala Guru
The project on the Documentation of the Thateras was taken up by the Punjab Chapter with the aim to document the Craft: as a Living Cultural Heritage of Jandiala Guru. The tradition of Thateras and their craft is a magnificent journey of place and people in and through time. The tradition of the art and craft is called ‘Living tradition’ as it is expressed through the knowledge system transmitted from generation to generation and its products are continually relevant to the people through generations. The craftsmen living in Jandiala have been doing this work for the last eight or more generations.
Craft, Industry and Market:
The work of Thateras is categorized as a small – scale industry and the craft as a cultural heritage. Hence the raw material and its products are taxed on the pattern of small scale industry. It affects the work negatively as the utensils become costly and do not sell. The work of the craftsmen is further affected by the presence of the middle man or the local distributor as the profit is shared by him. The operation of this ‘small scale industry’ is two –tiered which doubles the exploitation of the craftsmen and the benefit of the middle man. Since most craftsmen do not have enough capital to buy the raw material, they remain dependent on the distributor who provides them metal by weight and takes back the finished product by weight not by number of units produced by them as if it were also the raw material without any value addition. Hence the need to promote this work as a skilled craft.