Every Day is the Environment day by Indraani Singh
Many of our Indian Rural communities have inspired many of us to practice life where Nature is not harmed. Poor communities recycle their clothes, and many restitch them into bags to carry their daily essentials. Therefore, they recycled and reused without realising “How they were helping the mother nature”. They considered this as leading a life of being poor. Their Farmland did not get chemical fertiliser, and their animals kept their ecosystem safe with their grazing.
Years of such living kept many of our villages safe. Such practices are considered simple living and come back to our educated urban communities as a lesson. There is an overall urge to recycle as much as possible, Plant more, and eat homegrown vegetables. Literacy India and Indha teach our beneficiaries of this generation to go back to simple, natural ways.
Indha waste paper recycling Unit makes paper for its own organisation consumption. It engages with companies to use recycled handmade paper for their workplaces. Also, it promotes the same for the livelihood of many women.
Literacy India`s Indha project is a Fairtrade brand .Indha was started by Literacy India as an offshoot of Project “Karigari” – a platform under which Literacy India trained over 10,000 women were later turned into skilled Artisans. Right now we have 300 plus artisans fully engaged. Handcrafted products are unique and authentic. Skilled artisans pay attention to intricate details while showcasing their #KalaAurKarigiri. Handcrafted with love, they are designed to perfection. A lot of hard work goes behind the crafting of these products.
Every Mother is Special. She has Poise and She is the Ultimate Lady. Gifting our specially handcrafted Clutch Purses to your Mother is going to make her day. Times are Tough due to Covid19, this Gift is a Gift of Joy. Make her Day. To one mother from another Artisan who is also a mother. Over 350 artisans from West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Haryana come together to create a range of products, a happy marketplace of things. Visit us at https://indha.in/ Crafty Designs and Handmade, Hand-embroidered Clutches gives a class and niche to the item.
Indhacraft`s unique collection of living room home decor is specially handcrafted for your homes.
Beautiful Cushion Covers to adorn your Living Room Sofa with exquisite Tribal hand Embroidery and hand block printing. The joy of Handmade and Happy Craft brings positive vibrations to your homes. A Great set for Gifting During Diwali, Weddings, etc as it comes with a lovely Pouch as a Gift Wrap. India helps Environment and Empower Women from the Rural underserved background to create such a beautiful handmade Bag. Your Choice will change the lives of these Rural Artisans and we can be part of Make in India products. We promote Indha is India.
IT’S NOT ABOUT CRAFT
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken India`s economy to the core. Though everyone has taken a hit, some have been hit more than others. The rural artisans are amongst those severely impacted. According to government figures, there are an estimated seven million artisans in India, however other sources peg the number to 200 million. The artisans constitute the backbone of India’s Handicraft sector, but at the time of duress are left to fend for themselves. Though some craftworkers do own land, millions do not. These landless artisans are forced to work as landless farmers or to migrate to cities as daily wage labourers. This puts the entire sector of traditional handicrafts at risk.
We at Indha Craft (www.indha.in) have been trying to revive the receding Indian handicrafts sector by creating a market for the products across India and abroad. Global markets are slowly evolving and have begun to like the handmade, thereby giving hope to rural artisanal communities.
The lockdown has unfortunately impacted the lives of these communities once again. Due to the pandemic, markets have collapsed. These artisans are forced to traverse uncertainties and turn towards daily wage work to sustain themselves and their families. This lockdown has taken away their livelihoods and any kind of survival security. With the forced migration, they also face health risks posed by the pandemic.
We would like to make an appeal to support the impacted artisan families whom we are unable to help. Indha Artisans are at the brink of losing hope, and they need financial support to stay positive and with the belief that this too shall pass.
We are reaching out to all you Indha supporters to contribute whatever possible so that the artisans can sustain themselves for a month. We expect the markets to open soon with IndhaCraft gearing up to market Indha products soon.
Your smallest contribution could be one`s day`s ration for a Family.
Click here to donate online https://www.literacyindia.org/relief-fund-for-poorest-of-the-poor/
Captain Indraani Singh,
Founder – Indha & AirIndia Commander
There had been lots written about Doodle Art across the world as to how it is distressing and can be meditative. This is also found to be hip and Spiffy used in many accessories by World famous Designers. I thought we could use the Doodle Art into our Block Prints and our Embroideries which further gets shaped into Products. To develop a taste for such designs, we had to get out there and take that chance. I was pleasantly surprised that many of Today`s Generation took a liking for this in our line of Furnishings and Bags with some Unique Doodles.
Our Artisans did ask us innocent questions about what the artwork meant, though they enjoyed working on it simultaneously.
I needed to imagine a living Room where in this work of Art would stand out, leading to a new trend and style. I felt pride that we could blend Joy of Creating something, and at the same time convert this into Craft impacting lives. Since then, Our Doodles became our original in the line of designs especially on Men`s Apparel we have started using, Our Recent Shirt Material was a major hit. We used doodles of Masks of different kinds, Bicycles, Autorickshaws, Geometrical designs etc. Our Stoles, Scarves and Bandana Block Prints were quite Popular.
Captain Indraani Singh,
Founder – Indha & AirIndia Commander
|Villages of District Purulia is primarily forested all around. Thes Forests are lush Green and full of herbal plants that may be the reason most of the Tribals took care of themselves with no hospitals for miles in these villages. Forest is full of Wild Elephants besides other small animals. Indha happened in the community because of Mother Lode “Literacy India”. It set up shop with a centre opening in Village Lowakui, Block Baghmundi, District Purulia, right in the middle of the Forest. Those days Mao activities were in full scale with every now and then acute problems with the Govt. However Literacy India centre worked peacefully without any hitch. Work spread from Lowakui village to Raghunathpur. Village houses in Raghunathpur are painted beautifully, it made us wonder about their latent talent of the Village folks. Women would sing in their homes while doing house chore, they would dance in bright colour sarees during festivals. Indha explored with their skill with embroidery and Stitching.|
They were trained, and what we found that they were natural, their needlework with little training blossomed which the world had to see. Women would do their household chores, then get their children from nearby govt school where Literacy India is already running its educational program, they would sit down with their needle and thread. Technology played a significant part, we would design a basic sketch in Gurgaon, then email it to Literacy India coordinator in Purulia, the description would reach the Raghunathpur centre and Voila ! the vivid, colourful needlework would be the product of the day. This became a natural pattern for us, and the number of women multiplied started working on a variety of embroidery. These Designs, in turn, become a part of many Table Runners, Cushion Covers, Bags, etc., we created a market with these designs and these talented hands.
This Tribal Woman could be heard singing happily while going back home with the money at her remote village sent to her from all the way from Posh Gurgaon. Most of these Tribal Women have never gone beyond a few communities in her life while the work travelled the world. We feel proud of taking their work to Everyone.
Captain Indraani Singh,
Founder – Indha & AirIndia Commander
Its been sometime since I wrote about our Social Venture “INDHA” which aims at empowering underserved women and makes sure it builds sustainability in its overall growth.INDHA`s prevailing belief in people and its planet made the overall progress slow yet had been able to create a whole lot of awareness about its work on various products.
Businesses don’t thrive on these, do they ? its all about how much Profit you made with the Capital in hand. The loss is never welcome in businesses. However, there had been a struggle in shaping the foremost, our women from the community, who are not only gifted and they gained with the training invested on them.
Capacitating them had been the hardest due to varied literacy levels of these Adults. INDHA`s everyday work goes around to cover more ground that is to work around their conservative ideas and beliefs, to build their confidence and finally work on their Aptitude/ Attitude towards the Quality finish so that our Buyers be amazed by its beauty and talent.
The overall transition had been to build the whole eco-system which tested our Perseverance and Patience at every level. Indian Villages has its own set of challenges due to its remoteness and lack of all kinds of amenities. The process continued with Handful of people getting ready, with more prepared in the wings.
The End product created had to be beautiful and amazing for INDHA with quality to be remembered by – this wasn’t easy either –Many days went by thinking “what would catch People `s eye and things which would remain with them forever”.
The word “utility “ word was significant for us as we all somehow use something or the other, in our daily lives; therefore INDHA focused greatly on Utility products and the same for gifting could be promoted amongst Event Managers & Corporate Buy.
INDHA designs focused on always creating something handmade, handcrafted and use of Raw Material which could be recycled and Earth Friendly, therefore, furthering our cause of “People & Planet “ in harmony.
We found many fashion Boutiques trashed their fabric – each small piece was beautiful and held a potential of being recreated into something Niche.
Our Production started & scaled from Village Bajghera, Haryana, then to Rajasthan, Delhi and West Bengal – these Pieces were put together like a beautiful artwork in harmony to produce something we all would use it at our homes.
New Artisans could hone their skill in stitching these pieces together and designs created had vivid combination, their own story of craft, and talent exhibited was something to reckon with, as we were encouraged by Buyer`s awe.
A Great High when World chose our products in many exhibitions, at Retails and also for Corporate Gifting – to name a few these are – A Dustbin, A Pen stand, a Dairy, a Quilt, Bags of all kinds and several Furnishing Items.
Change is happening – Many Companies have changed their Choices of gifting, they have started choosing Products which are giving work to Rural poor, Empowering the Women. The hint of Pride is noticed by many Indians while using our products. Many have expressed that they love the fragrance of Indian-ness in our products.
This gives us the Courage to continue as the People`s Choice is growing.
Captain Indraani Singh
Founder – Indha & AirIndia Commander
Here is another inspiring story of an Indha woman whose amazing works of creativity is now a part of many of Indha’s products. I would like to introduce her as an artist who expresses joie de vivre in her paintings.
Shellie Singh Rana, my old time friend was all game to join us, for her beautiful paintings were to become an integral part of the eclectic designs of Indha products. Most importantly, she was happy in becoming an INDHA- PRENEUR. Shellie lives in Gurgaon with her husband who is a Pilot & they have two sons. Painting is her passion and Shellie is full of life and enthusiasm that is reflected in her work. I knew she would love the idea of her work being used in various products like Cushion Covers, Diaries & Tote bags. She was all for generating work for the Indha women who come from underserved background.
Shellie Rana Singh is a renowned contemporary artist whose refreshingly colorful abstract paintings are a joyful depiction of the festivity and frolic of metropolitan living.She channeled these thoughts to canvas and her paintings are resplendent with colors of joy, life, festivities and vivaciousness that best describes the effervescent place.
Her widespread popularity as an artist is due to her captivating techniques reflecting resplendent splashes of color that suggest a pandemonium of activities in a typical metropolitan lifestyle and a buoyant optimism of reality and imagination.
Shellie’s exhibitions are a sell-out and her paintings are conversational pieces adorning many modern homes and offices. I had my fair share of friendships and their impact in my life. Shellie’s is one friendship that will remain close to my heart because she is a true friend who shares my ideals and is a part of the initiative that I have dedicated my life to. This blog is aimed at bringing to the world, budding entrepreneurs and latent talent of many women I meet every day across India, who strive to emerge as winners in their life’s fight. Here’s to more women wearing Indha – the ring of responsibility – like a crown of honour.Capt. Indraani Singh Senior AirIndia Pilot:Founder/Managing Trustee-Literacy India Founder-Indha Craft
It’s not easy to come up with a blog which people will read and enjoy. I found that the doodle of ” from the horse’s mouth” would draw a comic curiosity & add a flavor to INDHA`s stories. It was almost ten odd years ago at our center at Village Daulatabad, while sitting with the women who were being trained on sewing & tailoring, I got into a dialogue with them about how would most of them use their skill for revenue generation. I found it was not easy for them. First of all they were bound by conservative norms, where women were not allowed to go beyond the village boundaries and were governed by strict societal norms. Of course there was a big issue of public transport and since I was not in a position to provide transportation for all of them, I just had to do something innovative. However, even after days of thinking I was unable to find a ready solution. On a lark, in my next meeting I spoke to the group about setting up this entity which could provide a platform for the women to work together to create products to sell using their traditional craft skills, without leaving their villages. In turn, we would find ways to sell their products. In addition, this entity would enable them to become micro entrepreneurs by enabling them with tools of trade. This idea was greeted by a whole lot of excitement and energy which was a great booster even though I wasn’t quite sure of where we were headed.
The question then came up as to what should we name this new entity? I noticed women walking in with their “MATKA” (pot) on their heads, something they still do in the villages to carry water. That intrigued me. Though I wasn’t sure “MATKA” sounded appropriate, but the cushion ring on their heads on which women carried their load which was called “INDHA” seemed to ring a bell. To me it denoted “Women carrying their own responsibilities” & having their own identity. It seemed a perfect fit and thus was born “INDHA” – the platform that allowed women to translate their home grown skills into beautiful products that could be sold. At that point in time, I didn’t know whether I would be able to live up to the magnitude of the responsibility I had taken on but seeing the energy of the women and their hope I couldn’t let go. India has many villages where there are numerous such women, bound by restrictions, limited by what they can do and yet they seek answers of a similar nature. With such a humble start, I never thought I will bring so many village women, (have lost count), under this “Ring of Responsibility”.
Indha and a Pilot, which is my day job, is an odd combination. However, I am a firm believer of the “Mysterious Magic of the Universe”. Therefore, I moved on with the belief that some good would come out of INDHA. I was proven right. A decade later, INDHA has gone on to become a household name amongst the women who create these beautiful handcrafted products and their buyers.
Beyond the evolution of INDHA, I also wanted to share with you a story of motivation and the birth of an INDHA PRODUCT. In 2007, Moushumi, my dear friend, got married and relocated to Delhi. Moushumi was born and brought up in West Bengal with a Bengali Father & a Sri Lankan mother. Her demeanor was such that we use to call her “Dada” that meant overall “Boss”, but she was nothing of that sort. She was mild, pleasant and always smiling. She joined us at INDHA, believing in what we did and wanted to do her best for the organization and the women who formed it. She loved dabbling with new designs, what more could be done with the skills the women brought to the table. For some reason she loved Table “Runners” – those colorful pieces of fabric we use to light up our side boards or tables was something we couldn’t miss . We went far and wide shopping for raw material, finding new designs, creating funky runners and many other home furnishing products. She brought in an innovative concept of a shop within a restaurant and set up an INDHA shop within a popular restaurant, “100 feet” in Indiranagar, run by her brother in law and sister. And she never gave up on telling me how INDHA could continue to innovate and grow. Moushumi did all this while life kept testing her in more ways than one specially her personal life. And in a little more than a year later suddenly one day, she left us forever. I was numb with shock for days. However, just like Moushumi never gave up on INDHA, the INDHA women also never gave up on her. This year on her birthday, which is today, we are proud to dedicate our new range of home furnishings to “Dada” – the brave girl who we loved and miss every day. Our latest range of furnishings is called “Moushumi”- OUR SALUTE to her and the memories she created for INDHA and our women.
In the last decade, I found many women like Moushami who are home- makers and have the aspiration, energy and talent to do something more. They are engaged in part time businesses, running food stalls , creating jewelry, designing clothes in between whatever else they need to do. Their courage, interest and determination makes them perfect members of the INDHA family, a platform where they could use their talents of design, art, craft and other creative skills to earn a livelihood without upsetting the apple cart of their daily lives. I encourage them to reach out to us and be part of this journey which could help them and INDHA bloom and grow.
We all have our share of serious stories, funny stories, sad stories. Always a mixed bag of experiences. Through this blog I hope to encourage others of our generation to create other INDHAs or be a part of this mission like Moushumi was and continue it after me. This blog is also for many latent entrepreneurs like the women I meet everyday across India whose lives are similar to those who first made INDHA and are bravely trying to find a solution to not let life beat them down. Here’s to more women wearing INDHA- the ring of responsibility- like a crown of honor.Capt. Indraani Singh Senior AirIndia Pilot:Founder/Managing Trustee-Literacy India Founder-Indha Craft