The Shabda Chitra Framework for Classification of all Objects

A Museum of Everything : All Objects of Mankind – Footprints of a Civilization


The Value of Stuff

We live today in a world of ever more stuff – what sometimes seems a deluge of goods and shopping. We tend to assume that this has two results: that we are more superficial, and that we are more materialistic, our relationships to things coming at the expense of our relationships to people. We make such assumptions, we speak in cliches, but we have rarely tried to put these assumptions to the test ….. in many ways, the opposite is true; that possessions often remain profound and usually the closer our relationships are with objects, the closer our relationships with people.” – Daniel Miller , Anthropologist & Author of – Stuff / The comfort of Things

Of course, this does not mean that we recommend that you go out & stuff your homes & work-places with all kinds of stuff. As Annie Leonard’s wonderful film highlights, there is a problem in not understanding the story, behind the stuff . ( )

What we like is Stuff with a central Story-based design, as identity. Diversity of Stuff. New things. Continous innovation. Why ? Because, as Leonardo da Vinci once said – “Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”


What We Do –
(A) Educational Products –
(i) Conceptualize a Museum/ Exhibition – Develop a strategy for the Theme Selected ( both Virtual & Bricks Infrastructure)
(ii) Source Stuff/ Objects/ Artefacts – Develop a sourcing plan for a Museum/ Exhibition, within Budgets
(iii) Develop products for Museums/Exhibits , especially handcrafted, story-based & well-researched products

(B) Hand-Crafted Objects made at Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, India –
(i) Wood Products – Violins & Furniture
(ii) Paper Products – Kites
(iii) Textile – Home Linen & Indian Women ethnic Garments ( Zardozi, Ari & Chikan Emroidery techniques)

What We Don’t Do –
Mass-Production & Direct Sales

People Resource –
Outsourced Production – Mainly to Micro-Enterprises of handcrafted goods in Rampur
Research Resource –
Collections of Objects – Antiques, Innovative Design Products; Samples ; Design & Craft History Library

Economic Geography – Location of both Production & Consumption Matter

“ We tell a Story with Stuff. We sell stuff in the City. We make stuff in the Village.”

The City

“ The point of Cities is multiplicity of choice.” said Jane Jacobs “The catalogue of forms is endless: until every shape has found its city, new cities will continue to be born. When the forms exhaust their variety and come apart, the end of cities begins. The human race is a zone of living things that should be defined by tracing its confines.” explains Italo Calvino

Indoeuropeans adds to the choices in a city by offering a diversity of handcrafted products of everyday use, from another part of the world. By revealing the story behind these products, we hope to bridge many a divide including wealth-poverty & arts-science, and to build bilateral understanding between an urban & rural community, very far away & very culturally diverse.

The Village

“The Villagers should develop such a high degree of skill that articles prepared by them should command a ready market outside. When our villages are fully developed, there will be no dearth in them of men with a high degree of skill and artistic talent. There will be village poets, village artists, village architects, linguists and research workers. In short, there will be nothing in life worth having which will not be had in the villages. Today the villages are dung heaps. Tomorrow they will be like tiny gardens of eden where dwell highly intelligent folk whom no one can deceive or exploit. The reconstruction of the villages should not be organized on a temporary but permanent basis.” – Mahatma Gandhi on his vision for the Indian village Indoeuropeans shares Gandhi’s vision of the village. However our model of a city-village bilateral link, is a cross between Gandhi’s ideas on de-centralized mass production ( hyperlink to Annexure B) and Bauhaus founder, Walter Gropius’s ideas on mass production . Both Gandhi and Gropius, meet on the essential focus of their mission – the betterment of the village, through a Crafts to Industrialization journey. We are fully aware of the ills of industrialization, highlighted by Gandhi. The answers to this lie in Indoeuropeans keeping check on its profit and scale ambitions. We believe in E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful vision. We are incorporating this small-community focus into our operating model of how we work. By setting up a finishing workshop in a village, we hope to create some local jobs. Through training & getting handicrafts made by village based artisans, for the needs of a global market, very far away, we aim to create continous learning & continous work, for rural crafts communities. In India, there is no one ideal village, which houses even 10% of the craft skills of India, which we wish to use, to create stuff. We have therefore begun to build a sourcing/ manufacturing value-chain across Indian villages, in line with our belief in decentralized production plans. We will endeavour to expand this globally, as we keep adding new stuff.

The Story

“ I am not against the use of the machine, but I prefer to rebuild our villages from below and absorb as many machines as may help human beings. I don’t want people to become like nuts and bolts in a factory. I want the connection of the hand and the heart to remain in the making of things. I believe man remains more human if he works with his hands, knows how to grow food and can be more or less self-sufficient. In this way, we can avoid the sickness of the so-called civilised man in the West. He works long hours in the factory. He is isolated from his family. And he has recourse to bad sex books, films and theatres for his emotional gratification. He earns good money, but he spends the best part of it or more than he earns. And the advertisements in newspapers make him want more gadgets. The cycle never ends. He is a slave to the hire-purchase system. And there is no art in such a world except the art of the few. As far as I know, Ruskin praised the cathedrals of Europe more than modern art. And if Tolstoy’s views have led to preference for photography on the one hand, they might also lead to faith in people’s gift for creating fairy tales in cloth on the other.” – Gandhi on Art

Indoeuropeans aims to bring to you, not just the gifts created by the village folks, but also the stories behind it. Not just fairy tales in cloth, but all the stories that matter. Today, the factory work-life conditions which Gandhi describes, are not just issues for the West, but in the supposed East too. While the disparity between wealth and poverty and discussions of morality are  undoubtedly important issues, they cannot be the only stories we tell about a developing country. The Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie highlights the danger of telling only one story about a country, a culture -“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity. Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk. The story & the stuff, lives together. “ The tree of language and literature, which is the tree of knowledge, the tree of life, grows in strange and wonderful ways. The past lives in us in new forms. A sheet of paper is made from wood fiber, and so it is related physically to the wood on which centuries ago our forefathers made their primitive inscriptions. The piece of furniture on which you lay a book, is a “table”, and the block of paper on which you make notes is a “tablet”, because the latin word for “wood board” is “ tabula”. An old photographs book is an “album” because it means “ white”, the colour of the tablet used by Roman high officials (Pontifex Maximus), to write the events of the year.” – The Story of the World’s Literature, by John Macy


Over the course of the past 4 years, a small self-financed project – Rohilla Mohalla – at Rampur, U.P. has resulted in creating some stuff on themes beneficial for the social & economic uplift of master-craftsmen & micro-entrepreneurs in the geography. Here is stuff from a few themes we worked on :
Mondrian inspired Stuff – See download
Golden Triangle – Delhi-Agra-Jaipur Stuff – See download
Rampur & Lucknow – Awadh vs Rohilkhand Stuff – See download

IKEA – Testimony of a Furniture Maker

Collecting Sea-Monkeys

Cabinet of Curiosities

Collecting Toys