Srijani – Rebuilding Lives Through Craft

25 Aug

Not so long ago, my masi (aunt) decided to take a step forward and work with deeply marginalized women of Bihar. Being hugely inclined towards the arts and craft without any training herself, she began working with a small bunch of women – not so much to make this what it has become today, but to make an effort in helping them express their own stories. And that’s how the story of Srijani began. Everyone has stories with many chapters; and here’s a way in which everyone gets to talk about their stories through craft.

Today, Srijani has become a small but budding social enterprise comprising self-help groups that work together on a common platform. Stories aren’t easy to tell, especially when they’re mixed with trauma and episodes one never, ever dreams of. However, they all started small and from scratch – from embroidering flights of fantasy to wishes and desires – on small media such as cloth and paintings. Today you can see their stories on office stationery, home decor and apparel, apart from others.

Srijani now holds exhibitions year round in Bihar, West Bengal and New Delhi primarily. It is now breaking through to a new market here, in Bangalore this August, 2012. The women have now taken to making this their source of not just living but catharsis as well. There are new catalogues for every season, new designs for every exhibition and show. And sometimes, there are new ventures as well.

Stationery, Home Decor, Saris, Stoles, Duppattas, Mats, Rugs, Durees, Spreads, Lamps, Tables and so much more come forth every season. Do check Srijani on Facebook as well to stay updated and get a glimpse of the products they have on offer. Here are a few for you to see.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not so much a promotion as much as it is the cause that makes me write about it. I don’t even think I can imagine how privileged and lucky I am when I come across stories like these. When you’re faced with so much and with not much in hand, life doles out the biggest tests you can ever put yourself through. When you have no education, no money, no social status, no means, no background, no support, no nothing except social titles of being ‘low caste’, ‘scavengers’ and ‘families with drunk and abusive husbands’, there’s not much you can imagine yourself doing. Especially when you’re right in the heart of Bihar.

So I think it’s pretty darn huge to start and now, go places with an effort such as this. I have no words to express what I feel for these women who’ve broken those boundaries and barriers to take that step ahead and choose expression over nothing much really; and at the cost of massive social threats to their families and their own lives. It takes more than a lot. Which is why I write this post. Not because it’s a family thing but because I choose to contribute in any way possible too. Especially since they’re coming down to Bangalore all the way from Bihar. It’s huge. It’s massive to walk into unknown spaces. It’s huge to take that step forward.

And all I can do is just write. Because this is the only way I can express.

So if you are in Bangalore or know people in Bangalore, I hope to see you there this Dastakar Mela which has shifted it’s venue to E-Zone from Palace Grounds. Come and see what this kind of expression looks and feels like :)

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8 Responses to “Srijani – Rebuilding Lives Through Craft”

  1. patriciaddrury August 26, 2012 at 7:40 PM #

    A powerful story given a voice… yours! THank you for this post, it is truly a gift and an awareness of how I take my freedom for granted, at times. I am a very grateful woman… grateful for all that I am, that I have and when I read about these women I cry. You touched me with your story. Namaste.

    • Babushka August 26, 2012 at 9:29 PM #

      Thank you, for stopping by and reading this, Patricia. :)

  2. sabina August 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM #

    Blabster… what ur Aunt is doing is very powerful! I could not at all imagine myself that ‘voiceless’… Kudos!!! to your Aunt for helping these ladies not only find a voice but helping them stand on their feet in an unfamiliar, cruel world!

    • Babushka August 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM #

      Come on and pitch in then, S! Hope to see you this weekend :)

      • Kavita Ghosh August 28, 2012 at 4:43 PM #

        Hats off to these women and to the guiding force behind them,Veena Upadhyay!!Women who have been shackled to domesticity since time immemorial are now breaking free and what better way than this- to give them “izzat ki roti”

        • Babushka August 28, 2012 at 7:03 PM #

          Very well said! :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Being Somewhere in Between | Babska's Journey - September 11, 2012

    […] place here in Bangalore. I was out there to help the aunt at the exhibition I mentioned earlier on, here on my blog. A bazaar with craftsmen, artisans and lovely merchandise is to me what new tech gadgets […]

  2. Weekends Part II | Babska's Journey - October 7, 2012

    […] a crafts bazaar. Dastakar had its Nature Bazaar at the beginning of last month and I mentioned over here, how the aunt was participating in it. It was her first time in the Bangalore […]

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