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People in Rajasthan are very hard working and have got great will power. They speak Rajasthani marwari and Hindi. There are other dialects spoken such as mewati, malvi and jaipuri. Rajasthan is also noted for its parks and wildlife sanatorium, there are four parks and wildlife sanatorium. Rajasthan is indeed a place of the kings and queens but also depicts lot on monuments of worship and peace for all the religions.

As said earlier, Rajasthan is a state rich in crafts. Jaipur and Jodhpur are famous for Jootis , the shoes made of animal skin. These are embellished with embroidery using special needles called Ari needle. Other products like bags, chair covers, belts, pouches are also made with animal hide. Woven carpets and Durries made of wool also form a part of all the households in Rajasthan. Puppets made of wooden head, painted faces depicting the people of Rajasthan is found to be a good souvenir.

Pottery from different regions of Rajasthan have different look, feel and color differences due to the difference in the clay.

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Fairs and Festivals in Rajasthan help us in understanding the way of life and people on a better level. The Desert festival in Jaisalmer is the time when the sand dunes become alive. The Camel festival in Pushkar as well as Bikaner gives us an idea of how important is camel in their lives. Camel was the only mode of transport during the earlier days in Rajasthan. Camel is called the Ship of the Desert. Kite festival is another unique festival in Rajasthan. The festivities continue to be held in different places in Rajasthan all around the year.

They worship the tridevs Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. Jainism is followed by a large number of people who are mostly traders and wealthier class of the society. Followers of Dadupanthi also form a major part of the population. They are strict vegetarians and abstain from liquor. Christians and Sikhs form a minority in Rajasthan. The important communities of Rajasthan are Rajputs, Jats, Brahmans and the traders. Rajputs belong to the martial race, Brahmans are the priests and teachers while Mahajans , the traders form the backbone of the villages. Jats and Gujars are the agriculture community.

Women in Rajasthan wear long flowing gaghras with chunky silver jewellery; this creates an offset against the dull and barren landscape. Men would tie turbans on the head, mostly with bright colored tie-dyed fabrics. The style of tieing differs with the caste or region they come from. Rajasthan s population is made up mainly of Hindus, who account for Muslims make up Major part of the state has arid and dry lands, some of the land with thorny scrubs and trees.

The extensive topography also includes rocky terrains, sand dunes, plateaus, wetlands and wooded plains. The hilly regions include the Aravalli hills, Thar desert, plateaus include Vindhya and Malwa, fertile lands of Mewar. The state experiences extreme hotness and coldness. There is a pre monsoon season in the month of April to June, which will be the hottest season of the year. Later temperature comes down in the months of July to September, when there are chances of rain happening, even though Rajasthan receives very less amount of rains.

Months of December to March experiences the winter, January being the coldest month. The temperature varies from 8 degrees to 28 degrees in winter and 25 to 50 degrees in summer. The coldness would increase while moving from town or cities to villages. Humidity is less in Rajasthan but they experience a lot of dusty winds.

Trees belong to the family of acacia, bamboo , khejri and teak. All the plants present there have thorns and the leaves are grayish green in color. While looking at a piece of land, it does not bring in a lot of colors, indigenous flowering plants are less. Some of the trees has flowing branches while some stays in an upright position. The leaves of the plants are long and thin so that there is minimal loss of water and some remains as branches. The desert climate provides space for lizards and serpents to survive there. Rajasthan consists of 23 species of lizards and 25 species of serpents.

The fauna also includes the Indian Gazelles. Antelope, Wild cats, silver foxes and so on. Also there are around species of bird varieties including migratory birds present in Rajasthan. Now Rajasthan is a producer of wide range of products like synthetic yarns, cement, chemicals and fertilizers and electronic items. Most of the industrial development has been taking in the public sector, in industries like mining, utilities, insurance and banking. Tourism also helps in boosting the economy of Rajasthan. Bikaner lies km away from the capital city of Rajasthan i.

The city was found and built by the King Rao Bika in who was a rajput. The place were the city is located belonged to Nehra Jat. This was taken by Rao Bika to built the city, hence the name became Bika-Ner.

After Rao Bika, major developments took place in the city with the rule of king Rai singh. He won many wars and rebuilt the Junagarh Fort which was initially built by Bikaji. A lot changes took place with the succeeding rulers. Now the city has a number of forts and mahals which allows us to study the architecture and life of Rajas.

According to censuses, there are inhabited villages and uninhabited villages in Bikaner district. The temperature goes up to 45degrees during summer and drops down to zero degrees during winter. Bikaner is well served with roads connecting to main cities in the northern India like Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Agra, Haridwar and so on. The public transportation facilities include auto rickshaws, buses, tempo travelers, jeeps and trains. People traveling in Camel carts are very typical to Rajasthan, which could be seen in Bikaner in large numbers.

Train services spreads across different cities in India in south, north, east and west direction. Bikaner has a large market, near the Junagarh Fort,with shops selling each and everything require for a living. There are streets selling only sweets, steel vessels, fabrics, dupattas, beads, embellishments, plastics, lights and so on. The streets remain busy all day, especially during Sundays. The place attracts a lot of tourists.. The main attraction of Bikaner is the Junagarh Fort.

The Fort stands in the middle of the city and proves to the best place to study about the lifestyle of people. The fort has temples as well as museums inside it. Even though Bikaner is called as a city, it is a place of traditions, culture, architecture and history. Urmul Trust, a Non Government Organisation was started in to reach out to the underprivileged and marginalized communities, especially women and children in Western Rajasthan.

The initial aim of the organization was to facilitate good health care and education to the vulnerable people. Later on, Urmul started working towards improving the livelihood of the people. Income Generation projects were initiated through which people were brought together to work strengthened their capabilities, made them self reliant and the projects were handed over to the communities finally. Urmul s Work is guided and run by the spirit, trust and passion of the people to bring about the changes by their own efforts.

Their area of work includes the districts of Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Urmul Trust is a decentralized organization which has several family organizations working across the stretch of the Thar desert. The geography of the place is in such a way that there are large stretches of deserted land with less vegetation and villages are scattered all around.

Initially most of the men used to be herdsmen as people used to rear cows, sheeps and goats. After ,Bajju became larger, wetter and populated with the help of Indira Gandhi Canal. People started cultivating the land. Bajju has started growing into a small town which has market selling anything and everything with companies having showrooms of tractors and other farming machineries. Also Bajju act as a connecting point for the villages situated near it for travelling to Bikaner, for sales, hospitals and medical facilities and education as there are schools and colleges in Bajju.

URMUL Seemant focuses on children, organizing collectives of women and other community groups to oversee and actively participate in implementing various programmes. URMUL Seemant works on Income Generation Projects to empower, both socially and economically, women artisans who decorate and accentuate fabric with their traditional craft of Kashida. All the work from distributing fabrics among themselves, collection of products, quality checking and timely delivery is done by women themselves. Embroidery was started in India in the states of Gujarat and Punjab initially.

Rajasthan shares its border with Pakistan. During the wartime, along with people, crafts had also migrated to Rajasthan. Embroidery is practiced throughout Rajasthan on different materials including fabrics and leather. Jaisalmer is a trading hub for embroidery and mirror works. Embroidery is seen on saddles for camels and horses. The craft is done on jootis, bags, belts and other leather products.

Traditional Rajput paintings have sceneries embroidered. The traditional textile used in temples of Rajasthan called Pichwai of Nathdwara also has embroidery done on it. Cream, green, yellow, white and black are the colors used for doing Pichwai. Embroidery is part of their clothing too. Lehenga skirts, roofing of the tents, decorative are all embellished with embroidery. Phulkari produces a flowery surface, with simple damask designs, it forms geometric shapes.

The Banni embroidery which originated from Gujarat draws its inspiration from architecture and is well depicted through minute embroidery patterns. Silver floss is used as thread in this craft. The Rabari embroidery belongs to Rajasthan as well as Gujarat. This style of embroidery is used in bags, accessories and home furnishings. The embroidery gives a pictographic representation of their mythology, culture and lifestyle. Kashida means Needle Work or Embroidery in Hindi.

In Urdu it means hard work. Kashidakari is a traditional craft performed by communities in Bajju, KolayatTehsil, Bikaner district. The craft has the rich history of many generations of women from ancient Rajasthan performing the Kashida. The artisans performing this craft are women. This was started as a traditional way of recycling fabrics.

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The communities being poor, started embellishing their old clothing with Kashida to give a new look. They used threads which were raveled out from pieces of waste fabrics, spin them together, and used it to do embroidery. The craft is practiced by girls from their childhood at the age of yrs. Kashida helped in beautifying their fabrics as well as their lives.

Almost women from 11villages are engaged in this craft. This craft is carried out by artisan communities who haves migrated from Pakistan to Rajasthan during So the craft traces back its roots to the land of Pakistan. Soof Kashida is still done in Pakistan. The communities in Bajju embroider sindhi kashida.

Sindhi style kashida is one in which a grid is made with thread going criss-cross and locking the meeting points of the threads. It has raised and bold effect. The stitch is done through the threads forming the grid. The embroidery forms a separate layer on the surface. Kashida is a way of life for them. They make maximum use of the materials they have. Many layers of old clothes are darned together and kashida is done on that.

They use this in their homes as quilts, as bed covers and as floor mats for children. The plastic rice bags which is available in the market is opened up, darned together and used as floor mats. Bands which could be worn on hands are made with beads and waste threads. It is a skill which is transferred from one generation to other.

Kashida is all about up cycling and sustainability. India did face a lot of pressure from East as well as West Pakistan like Crush India Campaigns India won the war, and Bangladesh was an independent country. During this time, a widespread genocide against the minority Hindu population in East Pakistan forced India to accept around 10 million refugees in There came the artisans doing Kashidakari. Kashida was traditionally worked on by all the girls in family and given as Dowry to the bridegroom s family. A girl would start practicing kashida from the age of yrs. Kashida was considered as mandatory in the dowry as it showed one s skill to beautify things.

It was very important for a girl to learn and practice Kashida as it showed her hard work, dedication towards the family, her love for marriage. The bride or her mother would embroider the lehenga for her marriage. Each product made as a part of dowry narrates the story of the bride s wish to get married, imagination of life after her marriage, her dreams and her passion.

Floral patterns with bright colors of red, green, yellow, golden and blues are seen in this Kashida. This has been a tradition which has been practiced by all women in Meghwal as well as Jat communities in the villages near Bajju. The tradition still continues in the villages. The girl has the complete freedom to depict her ideas through her Kashida. Following are few kashida products given during dowry.

Takia, ring kept on the head for placing the earthen pots, wall pieces, torans are some other products There are traces of Kashida in the history of Bikaner. The museums in Bikaner showcase embroideries being done on lehengas, saris, kurtas and skirts. These are mostly done with precious stones and gold zari. It gives us an idea how the design changes from flowy florals to geometric patterns. It also shows the change from intricate to bold designs. The lattice structure of the windows, wall panels and the flora and fauna of Rajasthan has also affected the motifs on the fabric. Women are the creators of this craft.

Kashida narrates the story of a woman s life. It shows the optimism in her mind even though living under such diverse conditions of the desert. Paru Bhai, who is more than 65yrs old, one of the oldest artisans, who is a jat, narrates her story like thisWe have been practicing kashida for years. My mother, grandmother, sisters, friends, everywoman I know used to do this. It is a part and parcel of our lives. After the war of ,we came to India. The condition of people was very pathetic. No house, no shelter, no job, we would wander and sit in the road sides hoping that someone would help us.

Later our Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave us these lands, where we built our homes. Initially the health conditions of people were so poor. There was malnutrition; children were unhealthy as there was hardly anything to eat. The family started rearing animals like cows, buffalos and goats. This was the only possible job as the land was dry and arid and lack of water made agriculture a long lost dream.

This was the time when Urmul came in to help us. They surveyed the whole village, about the health conditions of men, women and children. Medicines and awareness classes were provided to the people regarding the importance of cleanliness, healthy surroundings and self hygiene. Slowly the conditions were improving.

The status of women in the family is that an ideal woman sits inside their home, looks after her children and also manages household works. She was not allowed to even come out of the house and enjoy the freedom. She was supposed to remain silent. A drought occurred in the It struck the livelihood of people badly.

At that time Urmul happened to see our work of Kashida. They asked us if we could work for them. Initially an outsider interacting with the woman in one s family created problems. They thought that they would lose their family, their values. Urmul offered us training sessions, to work on fineness and educated them about the importance of the craft they are doing. They helped them to market their products and provided the women of these communities with a livelihood. Later on, men were convinced and women started coming outside the houses and got involved in the craft.

Kashida is our bread and butter. It gave us the freedom, we earn money, this helps in taking care of children and family in a better way and we do not have to depend on our husbands for everything. The women in these villages did not know that they created wonders with their hands.

The family started respecting and valuing their women.

More than a tradition, learning and practicing kashida became a need. Other than the traditional artisans, there are trained artisans too. These women have developed the skill through training sessions given by Urmul Seemant, Bajju. Meghwal community is also involved in weaving. Both the communities give kashida as dowry traditionally. There are artisans from other communities like Panwar Rajputs who are trained to do this craft. All the processes are carried out by women themselves. Paru Bhai, yrs, Village — Dandkala Paru bhai is one oldest artisan who has been working with Urmul.

She has an experience of working for 35 yrs with Urmul, while she practices kashida from the age of She is one of the refugees from Pakistan in She has done kashida for her dowry. She is very traditional person who wears the ragdi as a sign of her marriage, silver jewellery and gaghra chunari. The odhani still covers her face. Very enthusiastic and passionate person, she lives in a joint family with her sons, daughter- in-laws and grandchildren. Paru bhai is known for her simplicity and loving nature. Her husband is a farmer and they have fields across the village. She starts her day early in the morning at around 6am.

Her daughter —in-laws help her with the household works. She would milk the cows, cooks breakfast and serves her grandchildren with food and sends them to school. After completing her household activities, she starts doing Kashida. So women from the neighboring houses would also come here, they have conversations, gossips and they keep working. Evening she goes to the cowshed, takes care of them, feeds them and milks them. She has a special interest towards doing everything that comes her away. She does kashida till midnight with her daughter-in-law. Fula is an innocent 18yr old girl from the village named Gokul and she is studying in 10th standard.

She has not been exposed to the outside world. She is very much interested in music and listens to songs which come on television, in the nearby house. She likes talking to people and is very curious. She has 2 younger brothers, one younger sister, mother and father. Her mother also does embroidery while father works in the fields. Sometimes there would not be any work for him.


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Fula goes to school at 9am and gets back by 3. She wakes up in the morning, helps her mother with household works and goes to school. She is the eldest in the family. She is a trained artisan in Kashida. She practices kashida after school, in her free time. She does this to help her family, earn a living.

The income she gets sometimes bring in a thought in her mind that why should she study, she is already getting paid. After her 10th standard she would not be sent out of village and study further, her dreams would stop there. Kashida at least gives her an income to support her family.

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All these artisans are converted to Self Help Groups and they manage work between themselves. Deli Thalayi Deli thalayi is a village situated around 80km from Bajju. It takes around one and half hours of travelling in a bus. The bus passes through many villages. Road is in such a way that only a single bus could pass that way at a time. Dry lands, mountains and fields with mustard and wheat saplings are seen on the way.

The bus stops in front of a shop selling household items on the road side, where the village is located. Even though the houses have electricity, there are no street lights. The village belongs to the Meghwal community. They have a shiva temple near by the village, which opens on Mondays. In villages, a person knows everyone in their area. There is a small market which sells vegetables, fruits and tea shops selling tea and snacks. Here women do Kashida traditionally for their dowry.

Now they do it as a source of income. Still girls in this village do kashida from childhood for dowry. Women from families here practice kashida for livelihood. They are also given training in stitching by Urmul trust. These are sponsored programmes by Usha Group. It takes 45mins to reach there. There are no vehicles on the road other than a few cows which had come out for getting little sunlight during winters.

A few old men smoking beedis, wait at the entrance of the village, where the bus stops. There are no shops near the village. The people here are very caring and warming. The artisans here are traditional belonging to Meghwal community. Woman in all age groups practice Kashida. The village has a training centre where women come together, collects fabrics to be worked on and kashida becomes a part of their leisure time. There is school up to 8th standard and an Anganvadi in the village. All girls do not go to school here. But all of them do kashida.

All of them have a Kaccha and a Pakka style house. The muslim community lives on the other side of the village. Most of the men are farmers here. Jodasar Jodasar is a small village located 4km away from Deli Thalayi. Here most of the travel is by walking, as it is difficult to find vehicles on the way. They are less exposed to outside people.

Still the people are conservative and speak only their traditional language Marwari. The Meghwal communities present here practices Kashida as well as Applique on fabrics. Dandkala is a village located 50km away from Bajju. Dry and arid lands with a little vegetation are the scenes while looking out of the window from the bus. It is a hilly region. Half way through the distance, there is a small market with a tea shop, after that there are no shops on the way.

On reaching Dandkala, there is a shop at the entrance of the village. As most of the families in these villages have fields and farms, they get the groceries from there, fresh and pure. This village belongs to Jats community. They have been doing this craft since ages. From the traditional purpose of Kashida, it has turned into a source of income in this village. There is also a training center in the village so that women come together and work. Gokul Gokul is km away from Dandkala. There are no shops in Gokul.

They get the groceries and other things from Bajju market. There are also vegetable sellers who comes in camel carts selling vegetables and fruits. The village is located a little way from the road. There are no waiting sheds or bus stops at any of the villages. Gokul belongs to Rajput community. Panwar rajputs forms the majority in this area. There is a minority of muslims present in this village. The women in the village is been trained by Urmul to do Kashida, as this would become a source of income for them. All the villages gave a different insight on Kashida. Girls start making products for dowry with such passion and a lot of dreams.

They love to speak about kashida and their thoughts attached to it. Education is secondary for them; most of the girls does not go to school. While people in Jodasar are not well exposed to other people as well as market. They are less educated and speak only Marwari even though they understand Hindi a little. They do their work neatly. Dandkala is a village which is well exposed to the outer world, were initial commercialization of Kashida took place.

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Here more than a tradition, they do kashida for livelihood, for income. They respect Urmul a lot, designers as well as people provide them with work. Kashida has brought a remarkable change in the lives of women here. Gokul provides with a completely different experience as the artisans over there are still primitive.

The initial training includes learning the stitches, how to trace the designs, which colors to use where. It helps the artisan to get a color sensibility. Training is not just about kashida, it includes personal hygiene, educates them about Self Help Groups, society and other awareness classes.

Urmul aims at all round development of these artisans. They are also given the freedom to work with their own creativity. Next levels of trainings are to improve the fineness of their work. Kashida shows the skill of the person to work with needle and thread. The quality of work is very important to earn them money. The meaning of kashida changes from person to person Tradition, wedding, livelihood, hobby and the key to reach heights.

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The immaculate construction and embroidery on dresses, gowns, saris and blouses caught a lot of attention as did the fabrics. However, after his second stint at LFW, Lilaowala was convinced his forte laid in saris and not Western silhouettes. I decided to stick to what I knew best. Staying focused helped him create a niche in the market, he stresses.

After his first show at LFW, Lilaowala started taking his craft to different cities through exhibitions. This gave him an ideal platform to meet his clients face-to-face and cater to their requirements. A small inventory helped him skirt losses in the business. Distancing himself from trends paid off dividends as well. Lilaowla did not create pieces that were seasonal. Did this not keep the younger crowd, so taken in with trends, away?

Having said that, he points to the plethora of accessories at his store—clutches, stoles, dupattas and sappats slip-ons fashioned around traditional Parsi house slippers and mentions the entry level products are meant for a younger audience, to initiate them into the world of Parsi gara. Price points for all the products have been carefully decided. This augurs well for the craft and he plans to beget more patrons by continuing with his travelling exhibitions.

This year he is taking his collections to Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Singapore. Ashdeen Lilaowala After his first show at LFW, Lilaowala started taking his craft to different cities through exhibitions. Clutch purses adorned with Parsi gara Price points for all the products have been carefully decided.