Weaving their very own tales

Minna Zutshi

IN the slender, winding lanes of the economic metropolis of Ludhiana, 62-year-old Chann Kaur proudly shows her ‘hathh da kamm’. Specialising in handcrafted purses, she embroiders motifs like flowers, leaves, birds and butterflies on bedspreads, pillow covers, and many others. Craft got here naturally to Chann Kaur, and it helped her when she wished to complement her meagre household earnings. She took to creating purses of various styles and sizes. After years of grind, she is now snug financially. Even in the course of the pandemic, she was making 4 to 5 luggage and wallets every day.

Rupsi Garg (excessive left), affiliate director of Kheti Virasat
Mission, with two beneficiaries

For 60-year-old Gurcharan Kaur, a weaver from Kotliablu in Gidderbaha tehsil of Sri Muktsar Sahib district, nevertheless, it was Project Trinjan, an endeavour by the Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM), a non-government organisation, that got here to her rescue. She was arduous up financially after an accident left her younger son critically injured. When her son succumbed to his accidents, she hardly had any supply of earnings. Gurcharn’s expertise in weaving introduced her hope. She is now in a position to earn her livelihood, and even manages to supply for her grandchildren.

Traditionally, Trinjan has been an area of togetherness, collective knowledge and shared expertise — the house the place ladies from villages gathered to spin a charkha, moreover doing embroidery, weaving, knitting and crochet. This can be ‘their’ time — they might weave fabric, make durries, sing songs in addition to narrate tales. They would discuss, pay attention, be taught, empathise and trade bits of data from centuries-old data and perception programs. Impromptu folks tune renditions and folk-dance performances routinely helped protect and safeguard folks tradition. This was an emblem of girls’s identification, freedom and creativity, and it helped them maintain their emotional, cultural, ecological and societal join intact. Over time, these areas of togetherness began shrinking. Private areas closed doorways and enclosures grew to become extra widespread. Mechanisation, Green Revolution, individualism — the modifications have been too robust to be withstood.

Sarabjeet Kaur Chaina (L) coordinating and networking with
village artisans

Connecting, but once more

The agro-ecological disaster, degeneration of setting and depleting soil well being has as soon as once more introduced again the give attention to conventional areas and sustainable way of life. Dr Davinder Kaur Dhatt, an artwork and tradition skilled who works in a premier rural instructional establishment in Ludhiana, factors out: “Trinjan used to be a cathartic experience for women who would embroider, knit, weave as well as freely talk about their family life. They would make traditional specialties like seviyaan and wadiyaan and also share their culinary experiences with other women. All this got lost in decades of mechanical lifestyle. The pandemic has, at some level, forced us to rethink our values and priorities. A revival of community life, with its shared creative experiences, is on the anvil. ”

Reviving the Trinjan

Many non-government organisations are working in the direction of ladies empowerment by way of the revival of conventional artwork and craft and expertise. The Pingalwara Charitable Society, an organisation began by Bhagat Puran Singh in Amritsar, has been on the forefront of reviving Trinjan as a show of Punjabi conventional arts among the many younger. Competitions like charkha spinning, embroidery and weaving have been organised to acquaint younger ladies with these conventional arts and crafts which have been nearly misplaced to the younger folks. “Our traditional wisdom enjoined women to be conversant with right food combinations and nutritional value of seasonal foods. It was a holistic approach, unlike the present-day focus on fragmented lifestyle,” says Dr Inderjeet Kaur, chairperson of the Pingalwara Charitable Society.

A narrative-telling session in progress

Another such try is Project Trinjan of the Kheti Virasat Mission, which has inside its ambit 300-odd ladies from 12 villages of Faridkot, Barnala and Sri Muktsar Sahib districts. Says Rupsi Garg, affiliate director of the KVM: “Women are essential stakeholders in any household, society or nation. After the Green Revolution, chemical agriculture dominated and ladies didn’t discover a lot house on this extremely mechanised and market-dependent agriculture. Gradually, the tradition of mutual studying and sharing began vanishing.

“We need to organise these artisans and make sure that they get regular supply of raw material and regular income out of it so that they don’t have to look for any other work alternatives throughout the year,” says Garg. On a mean, the ladies are in a position to make Rs5,000-Rs6,000 per 30 days whereas working for 4 to 5 hours a day at their comfort, she provides.

Despite restricted mobility in the course of the pandemic, most girls artisans earned effectively, due to help from casual neighborhood teams in addition to such social organisations. The volunteers handheld ladies artisans by offering them the required uncooked materials at their houses. The completed merchandise have been once more picked up by the volunteers, thereby minimising the Covid threat to artisans.

Empowering ladies

Fiftyfive-year-old Sarabjeet Kaur Chaina’s job is that of area coordinator for numerous villages round Faridkot and Sri Muktsar Sahib. She coordinates and networks with ladies artisans whose experience is making durries, spinning, weaving, basket-making and many others. “Traditionally, if a woman (while making any art/craft/food item) ever got stuck at any step, another woman would chip in with suggestions, advice and help,” says Sarabjeet. “Women spinners are provided with pesticide-free raw cotton. Though the weavers do not require any formal training, yet from time to time, they are given suggestions on improving the finesse of the cloth they weave, ” explains Sarabjeet. She provides, “Meri income de naal naal meri pehchaan ban gayi. Koi vi mainu mere maa-baap de naam de naal nahi jaanda, na mere bacheyaan de naam naal (I got financial independence as well as my own identity).”

From an area of vulnerability, weak spot and isolation to an area of power, togetherness and sharing, ladies are reclaiming their proper to conventional expertise. And within the course of, giving a contemporary lease of life to values like sharing, caring and compassion. Of course, financial empowerment is a pure and joyful concomitant!

Ramandeep Kaur

Passion for spinning

When 23-year-old Ramandeep Kaur spins her charkha, she feels relaxed and rejuvenated. Her stress ebbs away. A graduate in Computer Applications, Ramandeep took to spinning barely 4 years again.

It began as a pastime that slowly grew to become part of her life. Now, nothing can wean her away from her charkha!

Spinning has been nearly a practice in Ramandeep’s household that handed on, by default, from grandmother to mom to daughter.

Ramandeep now desires to pursue spinning as a career. She was in for a pleasing shock when the volunteers from numerous social organisations approached her. She was given ‘work’ that not solely gave her a possibility to pursue the topic of her curiosity but additionally introduced in cash.

This shy and reticent woman from Sri Muktsar Sahib takes delight in her ardour for ‘hand-spinning’. Most ladies of her age aren’t conversant with the artwork of hand-spinning nor are they inclined to be taught it. But she is joyful contributing her bit to the revival of conventional artwork and craft.

Rimpy Kaur

Dye(ing), the pure manner

Flowers, barks, timber, leaves are the uncooked materials from which 18-year-old Rimpy Kaur extracts dyes. With a level in Fashion Technology, this woman from Kotli village in Sri Muktsar Sahib is an avid advocate of pure dyes for materials. She makes use of all-natural plant supplies to make dyes for the thread. She has experimented with marigold flowers, carrots, onion pores and skin, babul tree bark (gum Arabic), pomegranate pores and skin, and eucalyptus bark. The course of of constructing pure dyes from barks of babul and eucalyptus timber takes slightly over a month. She explains: “Soak the bark for a month. Bring the water to a boil. After boiling the water, strain the bark out and put the thread (to be dyed) into the water. After two to three hours, bring this to a boil again. Finally, pull the thread out and rinse it with fresh water.” Natural dyes are higher for the pores and skin and these assist to cut back pores and skin irritation and infections, says Rimpy. She plans to take up pure dyeing of materials as a business enterprise. “People go to my home to see the garments being dyed naturally. They discover it arduous to imagine that each one the colors used are derived from vegetation and that no chemical substances have been used. The pure colors are mild and delightful whereas being pores and skin pleasant. These colors haven’t any harshness, she provides.

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