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#SheInspiresUs: Maharashtra’s Banjara handicraft showcased

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#SheInspiresUs: Maharashtra's Banjara handicraft showcased New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Vijaya Pawar on Sunday familiarised Indians with the handicrafts of the Banjara community in Maharashtra through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter handle as the fifth woman achiever handling the Prime Minister’s account on International Women’s Day.

Working in Banjara handicraft field for the last two decades, Pawar presented the rural Gormati art of Maharashtra through the Prime Minister’s Twitter handle and showcased through a video how she encouraged thousands of women artisans working with 90 self-help groups (SHGs) under her guidance.

“You have heard about handicrafts from different parts of India. My fellow Indians, I present to you handicrafts of the Banjara community in rural Maharashtra. I have been working on this for the last 2 decades and have been assisted by a thousand more women,” Pawar tweeted.

In another two tweets both in Hindi and Marathi, Pawar said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only encouraged us to promote Gormati art but also provided financial assistance. It is a matter of glory for us. I am completely dedicated to the protection of this art and I feel honoured to have this occasion on Women’s Day.”

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In a video posted by Pawar on the Prime Minister’s handle, Pawar said this is a Banjara handicraft.

“There is a struggle behind it (Banjara handicraft). Banjara handicraft has changed into languishing art. As I have grown seeing this handicraft because my grandmother and mother are attached to it, but I learnt it from my husband and mother-in-law after my marriage in 2000,” Pawar said.

Between 2000 and 2004, Pawar said, she made the duplicates of all the traditional items and registered her NGO in 2004.

“I then united all women from my village and Taluka and trained them. Under Ambedkar Handicraft Scheme of the government, we ran a five year programme of 682 women. I congratulate Modi government for helping women in small villages through KVIC (Khadi and Village Industries Commission),” she said.

Pawar belongs to the Banjara community. Having seen her relatives and other Banjara women in the hamlets making the traditional embroidered articles, she got an idea to sell these articles in the markets. Thus, she approached some women of the SHGs actively functioning in the Banjara hamlets of the area.

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With the guidance of KVIC, currently, Vijaya is working in 99 Tandas of four Talukas (blocks) of Beed district in Maharashtra. A total of 982 women artisans, who are also members of 90 SHGs are working with her. Many of them are earning Rs 150 to Rs 225 per day which is much higher than what they were getting in wages while working as agricultural labourers.

Pawar, who has now become a role model in her community, became the fifth woman achiever after Chennai-based social worker Sneha Mohandoss, bomb blast survivor Malvika Iyer, Kahmiri Numdha handicraft revival worker Arifa Jan, and urban water conservationist Kalpana Ramesh, to handle the Prime Minister’s account on Women’s Day.

–IANS

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