Ek Potlee Ret Ki functions as an activist collective; members from different communities and backgrounds have come together to work with cultural communities from across India. The aim is to ascertain rights and restore dignity to traditional – skilled occupations, while gaining a larger understanding of cultural identities and the need to expand political action to preserve various aspects of these identities.
The Ek Potlee Ret Ki collective is journeying across various states, bringing to light the voices of strength, struggle and survival. Exploring nuanced sociopolitical structures within communities and its impact on their art, craft and living. In India, most cultural practices, be it performing, fine art, or craft traditions, have historically been the occupation of the lower castes and the disenfranchised. Highly skilled, yet the most impoverished, and marginalised are these communities; custodians of our invaluable cultural heritage. Sometimes tribal, sometimes nomadic, sometimes Dalit, these are people who have repeatedly faced social oppression, economic exclusion, and political exploitation and expulsion.
The collective functions as a democratic entity providing space for its members to study and work on different aspects of cultural identity. Individuals who have come together to form this collective are mostly activists who have spent time working on various grassroots issues and movements. This gives Ek Potlee Ret Ki a unique advantage; the ability to understand and look at arts, crafts and other skilled occupations as elements of day-to-day existence of the poor.
The collective is also making a concentrated effort to identify and document (archive) communities that are at the verge of extinction, and have for centuries preserved their arts and crafts as hereditarily transferred oral practices. All documentation done by members of the collective will be made available on public domains, in an effort to make it widely accessible, and to increase awareness and remove any market monopoly on content. The collective will also strive to gain an understanding of what the poor in this country perceive of “development” and what role they wish to play in it. Ek Potlee Ret Ki will ultimately form a platform that will mobilise hereditary and indigenous cultural communities as one, to fight in unity to preserve diverse individual identities.