* Small drops.

For land to be fertile and to have a good yield, one of the key components is water. Some of the general sources are, river, tube-well and rain.

While the lucky few cultivate closer to the river, many others depend on river-canals or bunds for the water to reach them. Of course, this manmade system is not fool-proof. Wastage of water in transit, excessive use, hoarding of it, and even unable to reach the far-away small landholding farmers are of concern. This mammoth task also requires abundant use of money, land, and manpower.

Underground/tube-well is sometimes the only main source of water for irrigation in many places. Though not very efficient, it serves the purpose. It's decentralized yet owned and either self-funded or by financial institutions. Despite the high input cost in digging the well and in pumping the water thereafter, the water resource itself is finite. Hence unviable in a longer period.

Majority of our farmers still depend on rain. It's free and does not discriminate, it's seasonal yet enough if used cleverly. The land and the sporadic rain work cohesively, the excess is always channelled to underground, river, or ponds. That is the understanding of 'enough' without entitlement.

All the various modes of irrigation are essential and important. I guess, there is no one right way of farming, it entirely depends on the geography, what is being cultivated and by whom.

By now, you know that I am not an agriculture scientist or a farmer. But hang-on, I am trying to make a point here.

Just like irrigation, for any craft to flourish, as much as we need direct government intervention or any NGO's and co-operatives, we also need many small craft brands. We all have a purpose and a place.

While the government (Like a River) plush with funds, resources, and system of network, often gets the purpose and integrity diluted by the time it reaches the rural-India. Nevertheless, they are trying to make a difference by using age-old systems and a huge number of officials by offering subsidies, buyback policies, loans, and free market places to name a few. We have been seeing the results.

Many NGO's and co-operative societies (Like underground water) dispersed all over the country are subjected to work under some draconian law. Sometimes the challenge in their geographical boundary and the scope of work is not only limited because of how they have been funded but also in creating relevant products and subsequently marketing it. The battle to be self-reliant still goes on.

Meanwhile, the self-funded small craft brands (Like raindrops) work with many craft clusters all over the country without any bias. Even in case of the work being seasonal, it's always with a single focus of making craft sustain beyond the scope of work and time. These small brands narrate stories, create utilitarian designs, spend time on documenting, try reaching the right audience, produce less, pay better, be conscious, create consumer awareness, collaborate with other brands, invest their own money, and pay taxes. Still, underrated.

It's time we not only enjoy the benefit of rain but also give credit to those each raindrop, as anything rain-fed is naturally wholesome.

I remember many of my friends in this industry who have always braved against many abnormalities. The parched craft sector needs all of us to get back to 'the new normal', focus on work, and support each other as #EveryDropCounts.

Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion and I will always be biased towards craft-oriented small businesses. 


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