SEED BANDS 2019 – KAMJOR NAHI HUM!

tie, sow, grow & consume…
SEED BANDS 2019

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These seed bands are made from non-GM (Genetically Modified) & IPR-free (Intellectual Property Rights) indigenous cotton grown organically by farmers in our village, hand-spun into yarn on charkhas by women of Gram Sewa Mandal- Wardha, naturally dyed by artisans of Wrukshatone- Erode & converted into yarn bands embedded with non-GM, IPR-free seeds by women of villages in and around Paradsinga.

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Cards on which these seed-bands are attached are hand-made by up-cycling waste-paper without using any chemicals & hand-printed so as to avoid usage of non-local resources & energy as much as possible. These cards are also embedded with vegetables & garden-friendly seeds.

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So just tie, sow & see your environmental & social commitments grow. This is a step towards organic, chemical free living & an exploitation-free environment and society.


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EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Every year the seed band initiative talks about ecology & agrarian issues which mainly comments on the material and the production processes that undergo to create each seed-band. But we realised that some of the social factors involved in the production processes have been less highlighted by us till now.

Women are vital to our production and living processes. This is more so true for our team at Beejpaatra as more than 90% of our planning, deciding and producing processes are done by women. But these processes undergo in the realm of highly patriarchal society we live in. Every step of the way we have to face the challenges that almost every woman living in rural India has to face. Yet, we move on, every day, every week, year after year. This journey of seed bands is moving on and has entered its fourth year this season. This certainly proves that, Rakshabandhan, for us, is not about giving us or any woman Raksha (providing protection). We certainly are not weak. & that’s why through our seed-bands we are saying “कमजोर नहीं मै!” (Kamjor Nahi Mai – “Frail… Not Me!”)

Just like our society, this seed band also has a solid base which supports and holds this band together. This piece of cloth behind the band has come from some brave women in our team who have bravely fought (and are still fighting) against the injustice done (& is still being done) to them. Let’s tie this band & remind everyone, including ourselves, “कमजोर नहीं हम!” (Kamjor Nahi Hum – “Frail… Not Us!”)

SB15: KAMJOR NAHI MAI!
Seeds: Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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This seed-band is dedicated to the Meira Paibis (“women torch-bearers” in local tongue), which is a women’s social movement in the Indian State of Manipur. They’re also called “guardians of civil society” as they’ve been fighting against drug abuse, crimes against women and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for more than four decades now.

The Palash tree, Butea Monosperma, is also known as flame-of-the-forest. The Palash seed and the threads holding it are all trying to tell the story of these brave Imas (Mothers) of Manipur. Let’s sow these seeds of struggle hoping that the fiery spirit of these women & the Palash tree ignite in us the spark that will help keep the darkness away for a better tomorrow…

SB01: MEIRA PAIBI
Seeds: Palash, Brinjal, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


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EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

‘Heredity’- single most important reason for survival of organisms since time began. It’s because both the parents have been passing on their genes to their offspring, irrespective of their gender, that life is being sustained. We inherit equal number of chromosomes from both our parents which make us who we are. This is the nature’s way of maintaining balance & diversity.

But since centuries, we, humans, have been altering this natural way in our social structures and instead of ‘heritance’, what we are doing is ‘HER-RIDDANCE’, i.e., we are trying to get rid of “her” in the matters related to inheritance. When the time comes to pass-on the family wealth, lands or power from one generation to the next, it’s the male member who inherits everything & the female is often left out.

Imagine the horror if tomorrow all females decide to stop passing-on their set of chromosomes to the next generation in protest! Maybe that is what this half-DNA seed-band is trying to warn us about….

SB02: HER-RIDITY
Seeds: Tomato, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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As cities grow, real estate value around its periphery starts growing as well. Same thing was happening in the 1990s around one of the fastest growing cities in the world- Mumbai. To make loads of easy money out of the price escalation, some land-mafia started grabbing lands of indigenous people in the neighbouring Thane district.

Navleen Kumar, a human rights activist working in the Indian State of Maharashtra, couldn’t let the looting of Adivasis of Nalasopara, Virar, Vasai go unnoticed & relentlessly began her efforts of legal interventions to restore their lands.

Afraid of her work, on 19th June 2002, she was attacked by a group of men with knives on her house terrace. She was inflicted with 19 stab wounds and subsequently died on the spot.

19 knots & seeds on the flower of this band are a tribute to Navleen Kumar’s bravery and her 19 stab wounds that symbolise the Raksha (protection) she gave to all those tribal families…

SB03: NAVLEEN KUMAR
Seeds: Pigeon Pea, Bixa, Roselle, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Atop the Nilachal Hills of Guwahati in Assam, India, thousands of devotees gather for celebrating menstruation… & that too of a Goddess in a temple!! Once every year people come for a unique festival- Ambubachi Mela in the Kamakhya Temple as the Goddess is supposed to be menstruating during that period for three days.

On contrary to this, in India, according to the National Family Health Survey – 4 (NFHS) released in 2015-16, 70% of Indian mothers consider menstruation dirty! According to a Punjab-based study published in the Journal of International Medical Sciences Academy, more than 60% females had to follow some or other form of restriction during periods.

This shaming of a female biological process goes beyond restrictions. As per the NFHS-4, 23% (almost one in every four!) girls drop out of school in rural India due to social stigmas around menstruation. In places where “seclusion” is practiced during periods, there are innumerous incidents of abuse, molestation, rapes & deaths which a woman has to go through…

It’s time we take this issue seriously & learn from the devotees of Kamakhya Temple. Let’s celebrate this vital process of a female body by planting the Bixa orellana seeds this band is offering which is a perennial shrub & has been traditionally used as a natural source of edible colour & dye.

SB04: GOING WITH THE FLOW…
Seeds: Bixa, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Atop the Nilachal Hills of Guwahati in Assam, India, thousands of devotees gather for celebrating menstruation… & that too of a Goddess in a temple!! Once every year people come for a unique festival- Ambubachi Mela in the Kamakhya Temple as the Goddess is supposed to be menstruating during that period for three days.

On contrary to this, in India, according to the National Family Health Survey – 4 (NFHS) released in 2015-16, 70% of Indian mothers consider menstruation dirty! According to a Punjab-based study published in the Journal of International Medical Sciences Academy, more than 60% females had to follow some or other form of restriction during periods.

This shaming of a female biological process goes beyond restrictions. As per the NFHS-4, 23% (almost one in every four!) girls drop out of school in rural India due to social stigmas around menstruation. In places where “seclusion” is practiced during periods, there are innumerous incidents of abuse, molestation, rapes & deaths which a woman has to go through…

It’s time we take this issue seriously & learn from the devotees of Kamakhya Temple. Let’s celebrate this vital process of a female body by planting the Bixa orellana seeds this band is offering which is a perennial shrub & has been traditionally used as a natural source of edible colour & dye.

SB17: GOING WITH THE FLOW…
Seeds: Bixa, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Gender wage gap is the average difference between the remuneration for men & women who are working. As per the Global Wage Report 2018-19, an International Labour Organisation publication, an average Indian woman is paid 34% less than their male counterparts.

Most common reasons for such disparities are socio-cultural barriers like expectation that women’s first responsibility has to be towards their domestic chores, child-birth and raising kids, cultural practice of women migrating to their husbands’ place after marriage, etc… It’s a general perception that because of all these “unpaid works”, women’s contribution towards their “paid works” gets affected.

But in reality, these inequalities exist because the social environment that we’ve created has been discriminatory towards women. To make us realise of these discriminations, this uterus band has been attached with discriminatory seed balls in place of ovaries. We expect both the seed-balls to perform better even if we’ve provided a conducive growth environment to one by covering it with fertile soil while enslaving the other to barren soil from construction site. Even after having provided discriminatory environment, now it’s in our hands how to raise this uterus in an equitable manner…

SB05: EQUITERUS
Seeds: Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Our immune system normally acts as our body’s shield & attacks external dangers to protect us. But what if it starts attacking our own body instead? Rheumatoid arthritis is one such condition in which our own immune system starts attacking our healthy body tissues. This attack, at times, persists to an extent that it turns an able host body into a disabled one for life,  while sometimes turning fatal as well.

Similar to this biological condition, our social system too is plagued by such a disorder. Our kith & kin are supposed to protect us. They act as the mortar that binds our lives brick-by-brick. But what if they start abusing us instead of protecting us? This wall of life will start cracking just like the cracked wall in this band.

As per the Fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), carried out by Government of India in 2014-15, every third Indian woman over the age of 15 years is a victim of some or other form of domestic violence. Domestic violence includes any form of violence suffered by a person from her relatives & people she knows.

Just like every third Indian woman, one out of three rice seeds attached in this band has suffered abuse and is no longer viable as seed. Let’s sow & nurture the remaining two as a promise to ourselves to cure our society of this rheumatoid…

SB06: RHEUMATOID WALLS
Seeds: Rice, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Our immune system normally acts as our body’s shield & attacks external dangers to protect us. But what if it starts attacking our own body instead? Rheumatoid arthritis is one such condition in which our own immune system starts attacking our healthy body tissues. This attack, at times, persists to an extent that it turns an able host body into a disabled one for life,  while sometimes turning fatal as well.

Similar to this biological condition, our social system too is plagued by such a disorder. Our kith & kin are supposed to protect us. They act as the mortar that binds our lives brick-by-brick. But what if they start abusing us instead of protecting us?

As per the Fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), carried out by Government of India in 2014-15, every third Indian woman over the age of 15 years is a victim of some or other form of domestic violence. Domestic violence includes any form of violence suffered by a person from her relatives & people she knows.

Just like every third Indian woman, one out of three rice seeds attached in this band has suffered abuse and is no longer viable as seed. Let’s sow & nurture the remaining two as a promise to ourselves to cure our society of this rheumatoid…

SB18: RHEUMATOID WALLS
Seeds: Rice, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Blossoms… one of the most prominent signs of puberty in nature also happen to be one of the most popular reasons for celebrations throughout the world. Right from the famous Hanami, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, to the lesser known Prince Edward Island’s Potato Blossom Festival, all celebrate this stage of a plant’s life.

Ironically, when the same phenomenon happens with half the population of humans- women, our attitudes as a society take an upside-down turn. Breast-forming is an important process not just in a female’s life, but also for human-beings as a whole. But instead of welcoming this stage, we treat it as some kind of a disease.

This attitude has been making millions of girls of pubescent age around the globe go through horrid experiences. Right from body-shaming to the torturous breast-ironing system in West & Central Africa, all are meant to hide & suppress a vital female body part, similar to what this band is going through & trying to tell us- let’s choose celebration, not suppression!

SB07: BLOSSOMING IRONY
Seeds: Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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The 1936 Charlie Chaplin movie, Modern Times, is a story of industry, of individual enterprise- humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness. It opens with a factory scene which speaks loudly of industrial production systems turning humans into machines. 80 years later, the comment still holds true.

But industrial revolution happened only in the 18th century. Since times much before, women have been treated as machines & objects to satisfy the needs of men. Right from the age-old practice of a father giving away his daughter to the groom in marriages, to the sleazy commercials of modern times using women’s bodies to lure men into buying stuff, makes us wonder whether indeed women are human beings or just some object?

Though being treated like an object, similar to a gear on the industrial assembly line, this band holds seeds of hope as well. Babool, Vachellia nilotica, has been used in pre-industrialised India for its wood to produce hard machines & tools, alongwith many other uses. The machinery produced in this period were not just eco-friendly and local resources based, but also made sure that they didn’t turn humans into machines. Let’s plant this seed of hope that has been keeping humans from becoming objects of production for ages & commit to keep the same thing happening with women around us…

SB08: OBJECT!
Seeds: Babool, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

16_SB19_Object.JPG

The 1936 Charlie Chaplin movie, Modern Times, is a story of industry, of individual enterprise- humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness. It opens with a factory scene which speaks loudly of industrial production systems turning humans into machines. 80 years later, the comment still holds true.

But industrial revolution happened only in the 18th century. Since times much before, women have been treated as machines & objects to satisfy the needs of men. Right from the age-old practice of a father giving away his daughter to the groom in marriages, to the sleazy commercials of modern times using women’s bodies to lure men into buying stuff, makes us wonder whether indeed women are human beings or just some object?

Though being treated like an object, similar to a gear on the industrial assembly line, this band holds seeds of hope as well. Babool, Vachellia nilotica, has been used in pre-industrialised India for its wood to produce hard machines & tools, alongwith many other uses. The machinery produced in this period were not just eco-friendly and local resources based, but also made sure that they didn’t turn humans into machines. Let’s plant this seed of hope that has been keeping humans from becoming objects of production for ages & commit to keep the same thing happening with women around us…

SB19: OBJECT!
Seeds: Babool, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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As per the 2011 census, India’s sex ratio is 943 females per 1000 males. According to a study, it is estimated that 1,00,000 abortions every year continue to be performed in India solely because the foetus is female. This is something we all need to be ashamed of as a society.

The heart and the live heart-beats in this band hold the seeds of Papaya. In papaya, seeds have a gender. Unlike most other trees in nature, the papaya tree growing out of a papaya seed can either be a male tree or a female one, but hardly ever both.

This band is urging us to plant all the papaya seeds in its womb, irrespective of knowing their gender, & sow, grow & nurture all of them without discriminating on the basis of what gender they might form into. Let’s do what this band is telling us to do & keep it as a constant reminder to eradicate this inhuman practice of female foeticide from our society.

SB09: LIVE & LET LIVE…
Seeds: Papaya, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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As per the 2011 census, India’s sex ratio is 943 females per 1000 males. According to a study, it is estimated that 1,00,000 abortions every year continue to be performed in India solely because the foetus is female. This is something we all need to be ashamed of as a society.

The heart in this band hold the seeds of Papaya. In papaya, seeds have a gender. Unlike most other trees in nature, the papaya tree growing out of a papaya seed can either be a male tree or a female one, but hardly ever both.

This band is urging us to plant all the papaya seeds in its womb, irrespective of knowing their gender, & sow, grow & nurture all of them without discriminating on the basis of what gender they might form into. Let’s do what this band is telling us to do & keep it as a constant reminder to eradicate this inhuman practice of female foeticide from our society.

SB20: LIVE & LET LIVE…
Seeds: Papaya, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Even when they’re victimised, women are often held responsible for the crimes committed against them. When in 2011 a Toronto Police Constable commented that women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised, women of the community rose up & said, “No More!”

They redefined the word “slut” as someone who is in control of their own sexuality & their uprising has since then caught on globally as “SlutWalk”. SlutWalk is a transnational movement calling for an end to rape culture, including victim-blaming & slut-shaming of sexual assault victims. Specifically, participants protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance.

This Aparajita, Clitoria ternatea, flower band has been standing in defiance against all such slut-shamings for ages, especially given its shape & name. Let’s wear it in solidarity with the movement & spread the defiant colour of this band & movement which also happens to be the extract of this Clitoria flower…

SB10: CLITORIA
Seeds: Cotton, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Child-rearing & upbringing are mostly managed single-handedly by women around the world with males doing hardly anything significant than giving their genes. But there’s a creature from whom all the males in the world need to take some parenting lessons- The Emperor Penguin.

After the body-draining labour of laying an egg, the female Emperor Penguins handover their eggs to their male partners & leave north to warmer environments for replenishing their energies. The male Emperor Penguins spend the coldest Antarctic nights protecting their eggs for about 65 days in temperatures as low as minus 60°C & blizzards of 200 km/hr without food, losing upto 40% of their body weights in this period!

This Emperor Penguin band is challenging all the human males in the world if they can beat them to take the crown of being The Emperor Dads? Are you ready to take this challenge?

SB11: THE EMPEROR DADS…
Seeds: Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

21_SB16_TheEmperorDads.JPG

Child-rearing & upbringing are mostly managed single-handedly by women around the world with males doing hardly anything significant than giving their genes. But there’s a creature from whom all the males in the world need to take some parenting lessons- The Emperor Penguin.

After the body-draining labour of laying an egg, the female Emperor Penguins handover their eggs to their male partners & leave north to warmer environments for replenishing their energies. The male Emperor Penguins spend the coldest Antarctic nights protecting their eggs for about 65 days in temperatures as low as minus 60°C & blizzards of 200 km/hr without food, losing upto 40% of their body weights in this period!

This Emperor Penguin band for toddlers is challenging all the human males in the world if they can beat them to take the crown of being The Emperor Dads? Are you ready to take this challenge?

SB16: THE EMPEROR DADS…
Seeds: Mustard


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Tree, one of the oldest symbols being used by different civilizations at different points in history to symbolise different things. The oldest use of tree as a symbol has been found in the Domuztepe excavations in Turkey, which dates back to about 7000 BC.

Amongst many things that it has been symbolising since millennia, a woman’s identity as an individual has been very rarely symbolised by it. That’s because, women have almost never been looked upon as individuals since ages; most of the times identified in reference to the men she’s the property of, or in the traditional roles assigned to her.

But this attitude is now gradually changing, thanks to the innumerous struggles of women around the globe. Just like a tree taking roots & establishing its own ground, this movement of recognising women as individuals is taking roots in the hearts & minds of our society. Let this tree band serve as a reminder that before all the romanticised identities of women around us- be that of a mother or a sister or a daughter or anything else, she’s first an individual!

SB12: sTREE
Seeds: Pumpkin, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Though the economy is slowing down without much signs of relief any time soon, the women’s fairness cream market is soaring high with revenues expected to increase over Rs 5,000/- crore by 2023.

& why not? We are a society obsessed with fair skin. Check out the matrimonial page in any newspaper, “fair-skinned” HAS to be a criterion for a bride. This obsession has grown to the amount of racial discrimination. Women who are not fair have to go through mental abuse starting from their homes to workplaces. This is a very serious problem in our society which needs to be rooted out.

The butterfly in this band is hoping that we look beyond her asymmetric wings & see the beauty inside. Let’s sow & appreciate the seeds inside the black of her wings & strive to do the same by looking at the beauty within when it comes to our attitudes towards people, especially women, around us…

SB13: COSTLY a-FAIR
Seeds: Bixa, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

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Though the economy is slowing down without much signs of relief any time soon, the women’s fairness cream market is soaring high with revenues expected to increase over Rs 5,000/- crore by 2023.

& why not? We are a society obsessed with fair skin. Check out the matrimonial page in any newspaper, “fair-skinned” HAS to be a criterion for a bride. This obsession has grown to the amount of racial discrimination. Women who are not fair have to go through mental abuse starting from their homes to workplaces. This is a very serious problem in our society which needs to be rooted out.

The butterfly in this band is hoping that we look beyond her asymmetric wings & see the beauty inside. Let’s sow & appreciate the seeds inside the black of her wings & strive to do the same by looking at the beauty within when it comes to our attitudes towards people, especially women, around us…

SB14: COSTLY a-FAIR
Seeds: Rice, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

25_SB21_Costly-aFair.JPG

Though the economy is slowing down without much signs of relief any time soon, the women’s fairness cream market is soaring high with revenues expected to increase over Rs 5,000/- crore by 2023.

& why not? We are a society obsessed with fair skin. Check out the matrimonial page in any newspaper, “fair-skinned” HAS to be a criterion for a bride. This obsession has grown to the amount of racial discrimination. Women who are not fair have to go through mental abuse starting from their homes to workplaces. This is a very serious problem in our society which needs to be rooted out.

The butterfly in this band is hoping that we look beyond her asymmetric wings & see the beauty inside. Let’s sow & appreciate the seeds inside the black of her wings & strive to do the same by looking at the beauty within when it comes to our attitudes towards people, especially women, around us…

SB21: COSTLY a-FAIR
Seeds: Rice, Amaranthus, Basil, Purslane


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