KAMJOR NAHI HUM!

Tie, sow, grow & consume…

Process of making – 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.


https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

Like every year, this time too there are some awesome people who are taking extra efforts to bring these seed bands to you. If they are nearby your place, then please check with them first before ordering online. Local connections always create new energies & synergies! 🙂

Note: Each one of these people have their own overheads, yet they are trying hard to make these bands available to you at a reasonable price. So please let’s respect & value their efforts & be understanding if their prices seem higher than ours… Do remember you end up paying extra shipping & instamojo service charge when you buy from us.

NAGPUR, MAHARASHTRA
1. Vedant (Gram Art Project): +91-8087137637
2. Simran (Adara Studio): +91-9823564198

MUMBAI, MAHARASHTRA
1. Heena Choksy, Malad West: +91-9833664750
2. Anu Pillai (Everything Eco), Palghar: +91-8087180464
3. Rahul Pabreja (Farmers’ Market), Santacruz West: +91-9023163678
4. Arundhati, Lower Parel: +91-9820952980
5. Puja (La Devi Organic), Fort: +91-9819294222

PUNE, MAHARASHTRA
1. Sustainable Lifestyle Store: +91-7720037799 (10:00 – 20:30)

HYDERABAD, TELANGANA
1. Bharath (Destination For Essential Alternatives): +91-9640335320

LUCKNOW, UTTAR PRADESH
1. Deepti (Jeevaniya Naturals): +91-8447403418

UDAIPUR, RAJASTHAN
1. Rohit Jain (Banyan Roots): +91-9783223520

DELHI
1. Neetika (The Roots Organic Store): +91-9999214328

BHUBANESHWAR, ODISHA
1. Satyabhama (Sasatva Foundation): +91-9438731542

KHANNA, PUNJAB
1. Virendra Kumar (Vishwa Yog Sansthan): +91-9815000414 (10:00 – 19:00)

GURDASPUR, PUNJAB
1. Rajiv Kohli (Swadeshi Haat): +91-7009150976

JALANDHAR, PUNJAB
1. Sanjay Chullha (Organic Matters): +91-9878644471

BENGALURU, KARNATAKA
1. Raghuveer (Sustainable Clumps): +91-9972852320

Designs of Seed bands / seed rakhis


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


https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

10_SB17_GoingWithTheFlow.JPG

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

13_SB18_RheumatoidWalls.JPG

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

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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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

EACH THREAD HAS A STORY TO TELL…

23_SB13_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…

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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

https://www.instamojo.com/beejpaatra/

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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Some highlights of Seed-Bands / Rakhi 2019 by Gram Art Project:

1. With more than 95% cotton cultivation area in India under Genetically Modified (GM) American cotton, we have grown indigenous cotton and made seed bands from its yarn.

– Cotton species: Gossypium Arborium

– Variety: Phule Anmol

2. In the opening paragraph of “Aims & Objectives” of the National Seed Policy, 2002 of Government of India, it has been stated that we have to increase our seed replacement rate (SRR), i.e., farmers should not use their own seeds but instead should buy new seeds from market/government each year. When it comes to cotton, SRR is almost 100%. But this puts a stop to evolution of seeds which can adapt to their local environments & face vagaries of nature bravely on one hand, & increases profiteering through seed sales by private corporations & indebtedness on the farmers’ front.

With this back-drop, the cotton used for these bands comes from farm saved seeds with the following lineage:

– In 2016, sourced from MPKV, Rahuri- State Agriculture University based in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.

– 2016-17: grown organically in Wardha, Maharashtra.

– 2017-18: grown organically at Paradsinga (Tehsil Sausar, District Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh) in farms of local farmers- Ganesh Dhoke & Usha-Purushottam Bhattad.

– 2018-19: grown organically at Paradsinga (Tehsil Sausar, District Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh) in farms of local farmers- Usha-Purushottam Bhattad.

– 2019-20: currently sown & is being nurtured organically at Paradsinga (Tehsil Sausar, District Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh) in farms of local farmers- Usha-Purushottam Bhattad.

3. Farm-produce is highly under-valued. Many times the Minimum Support Price (MSP) doesn’t even cover the cost of cultivation of a particular crop. Government has been promising each year remunerative prices to farmers without any implementation whatsoever. Moreover, the MSP declared for indigenous cotton is lesser than its American counterpart. For the year 2018-19, MSP of medium staple cotton (our local cotton has short to medium staple) was Rs 5,150/- per quintals, while for long staple (usually American) was Rs 5,450/- per quintal. Our procurement price for indigenous cotton:

– Rs 7,632/- per quintal

– almost 50% higher than MSP

4. Ginning is the process where seeds are separated from cotton. This process is followed by another process known as Pressing whereby the lint (seedless cotton) is pressed in a huge and power consuming machine to make it into a small bale so that it becomes easier to transport, again to open this compressed bale another high power energy consuming machine is used so as to start making yarn from it. This not only increases energy consumption, but also damages lint, leading to quality and conversion losses.

This year, we ginned our non-GM, non-hybrid, IPR-free organically grown indigenous (Asiatic) cotton from a local mill, completely eliminating the process of pressing. At every step of the way we are realising that the best thing for our natural as well as social environment is to opt for local alternatives which reduces energy and resource consumption at almost every step of the way.

Maybe you get a cheaper option from 100 miles away, but let’s not forget that for a small time profit of “few”, “many” have to pay a bigger price.

5. The yarn for this band has been hand-spun on charkha by women at Gram Sewa Mandal, Wardha (Maharashtra). This makes the seed bands not just environment-friendly, but society-friendly & economy-friendly as well.

– Compared to mill-based yarn, hand-spun yarn uses less exploitative energy & resources while using more human & woman-energy.

– Indian textile industry is one of the top five Non Performing Asset (NPA) causing stress to the economy. As more than 90% of the production comes from the mill sector & not the hand-spinning & weaving sector, this loss to the economy has to be attributed to the mill industry.

6. The yarn of this band has been dyed using extracts of natural elements. For example, the pink comes from Palash, blue from Aparajita, yellow from Tecoma, etc. This dyeing has been done by artisans at Wrukshatone, Erode (Tamil Nadu).

– Chemical dyeing is the second biggest pollutant of water in the world after agriculture.

– On contrary to the chemical dyeing process, water from natural dyeing process doesn’t pollute groundwater or local water-bodies and the eco-system therein.

7. There are two designs in our whole portfolio of this year, viz. SB15: Kamjor Nahi Mai & SB17: Going With The Flow, that use a cloth in its design, unlike all other designs which use threads only. This unbleached Kora fabric has a special story of its own. It’s cloth miles are one of the lowest we can find today, with a travel radius of just 2.8 km from cotton to cloth. Its itinerary:

– Cotton species: Gossypium Arboreum

– Variety: Anand-1

– Sown, grown & harvested at Gram Sewa Mandal, Gopuri, Wardha, Maharashtra, India – 442001 in the year 2015-16.

– Ginning done in Wardha city at a gin 2.8 km away.

– Lint to hand-spun yarn making done at the same place where it was sown, in the campus of Gram Sewa Mandal, thus travel back to 2.8 km.

– Cloth woven on hand-loom at Nalwadi, Wardha, Maharashtra, India – 442001, 1.8 km away from where yarn was made.

– Thus the cloth miles of this fabric add up to 7.4 km!

8. This year’s seed bands have been hand-crafted using the techniques of macrame, weaving, crochet, embroidery and some basic knots.

9. The seed bands come affixed on plantable seed-paper cards made by us in Paradsinga. These cards have been made by recycling waste paper & embedded with live non-GM, IPR-free, non-hybrid seeds so that the paper too can be sown after its use. Each card has hand-printed on it the story of the band attached to it.

10. Each band this year has a story of its own. All are part of a collective voice of women involved in this process saying, “Kamjor Nahi Hum!”. Read these stories on our website gramartproject.org as well as on our facebook and instagram pages.

11. Seeds embedded in this year’s bands are:-

a) Annuals for kitchen garden:

i. Amaranthus: Good for fresh salad from its leaves.

ii. Basil: Leaves can be used in different teas and seeds are medicinal as well. 

iii. Purslane: Contains more omega-3 fatty acids (beneficial in lowering “bad” cholesterol) than any other leafy vegetable.

iv. Brinjal: With the dangers of GM brinjal entering our diets, it’s better to start growing our own non-GM brinjal.

v. Tomato: Contains high pesticide application if brought from the market. Try to consume the one you grow without chemicals.

vi. Pigeon pea: Though consumed as daal almost daily, fresh & unripe peas are hardly found in our kitchens or market.

vii. Roselle: A miracle plant not many are aware of today. When small, leaves can be used in salads and curries, ripe fruit can be made into sherbets, jams & pickles, oil can be extracted from the seeds and from the remaining stock, ropes can be made!

viii. Rice: The variety of rice embedded in these bands is grown in dry-land region by direct sowing instead of transplanting. 

ix. Papaya: Most of the Papaya that comes in the market today is not indigenous & has high possibility of carbide-treated. Try this indigenous papaya for a change and one realises that papayas are not to be chewed, it melts in the mouth!

x. Cotton: Indigenous cotton, G. Arborium, variety Phule Anmol.

xi. Mustard: With government pushing for approving GM mustard for commercial cultivation, sow this non-GM mustard as a step of defiance!

xii. Pumpkin: Best sowing time is +/- one week from the day Akshay Tritiya falls on. For the year 2020, sow it between 19 April to 3 May.

b) Perennials for farm, open-space & forest plantations:

i. Palash: Plates and bowls can be made from its leaves. Flowers are source of natural pink & orange dye. Flowers also used for preparing herbal tea. 

ii. Bixa: Source of natural dye to get mango-ish colour shade of yellow. Also used as edible colour. 

iii. Babool: Very sturdy to grow in harsh dry & hot environments. Creates micro-climate for other bio-diversity to flourish in adverse eco-system.

12. A 100% rural-production; right from cotton growing to seed bands making has taken place in rural setting. With cities growing like cancer cells, village-based initiatives are needed to mitigate migration. These seed bands are made in following villages of Madhya Pradesh & Maharashtra:

– 8 villages in Madhya Pradesh, district Chhindwara, tehsil Sausar: Paradsinga, Satnoor, Khairi, Borgaon, Pipla-Narayanwar, Bana Bakoda, Utekata, Sausar.

– 2 villages in Maharashtra, district Nagpur, tehsil saoner: kelwad & saoner.

– more than 100 women in these villages involved in the making process.

13. More than 90% makers and decision-makers in the process are women. Financial independence plays a big role in women standing up against social pressures they have to endure for being females.

14. Be it land-tenure or using farmers’ lands for infrastructure works, government or private agencies avoid paper work as much as possible make sure they don’t need to abide by safeguards provided by law to these villagers. To build a practice of transparency and making sure that no one is cheated, all the making happens with due paper work and common written agreements.

15. To reduce ecological and social exploitation, one has to try to use & consume things that are produced locally. If we are going to produce and consume locally, then why use external currency, which eventually leads to external dependencies and consumption? With this in mind, we are trying to revive the practice of barter in our seed-band making process. A part of payment for the making efforts is paid in terms of organic farm-produce grown locally. 

– Last year more than 300 kgs of organic farm produce was taken home by more than 50 families by women in the household.

16. It’s a completely bio-degradable plantable band. So you can sow it without the fear of polluting the soil.

This year, we had a big concern with costing of bands. But there are many ETHICAL reasons why the costs have increased thereby resulting in the price rise. Some of these are:

1. Farm produce has been highly undervalued since decades. Government declares Minimum Support Price (MSP) for cotton every year. We have been asking for right remunerative prices for years, yet the MSP many times doesn’t even cover the basic cost of production. Since last year, we decided to keep the struggle for remunerative prices going on, but not to wait for its implementation from our side till government takes some decisive steps. So we have been going ahead & paying 50% over the MSP for cotton since last year. The means prices for cotton went up from Rs 6,000/- per quintal of last year’s to Rs 7,200/- this year.

2. Charges for natural dyeing were stable for the past three years but increased by almost 15% this year.

3. Wages of women in our region, like almost everywhere else, are half that of men. We have decided to gradually increase the wages of all women involved in seed bands making process to be at par with men in the next few years. We would have loved to do it from this year itself, but that would mean a much steeper increase in the final prices. So the making charges have also increased this year and this attribute will keep on increasing every year gradually.

4. This year the bands are tied on seed paper cards. This decision was taken collectively by us as the ecological footprint of these cards is less than the cards we use each year. But this means 300% increase over last year’s card cost.

5. Each year, the designs don’t say anything as such. This year everyone involved in the process decided to make some statement through these bands. The stories of each band you must have already read. This has taken lots of design efforts. Till last year our designing cost was almost negligible which increased substantially this time. Also, being complicated, production time and raw material used is also more for each design.

Hope this helps every one of us understand & take a more informed & conscious decision.


One thought on “KAMJOR NAHI HUM!

  1. This is good project for ladies .and also money earning purpose better.very very thank project organizer.

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