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Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was responsible for the revival of traditional handlooms and handicrafts in post-Independence India.
Recognized as the doyen of Indian arts and crafts Kamaladevi was the driving force behind several initiatives such as the Crafts Council of India and the Central Cottage Industries Emporium. Born in 1903, Kamaladevi was married off at a very young age. She became involved in India’s freedom movement and worked alongside several prominent freedom fighters for India’s independence.
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay also founded the Indian Co-operative Union. She set up a cooperative society initially for rehabilitation of cross border refugees after Partition. Under her leadership, the cooperative flourished and multiplied thus becoming a phenomenal success.
Kamaladevi could not bear the slow death of the Indian arts and crafts industry and strived for a renaissance. As Chairperson of the Handloom Board, she travelled far and wide scouting for talented artisans and worked towards their economic upliftment. Further she launched the Indian National Theatre.
Kamaladevi has won several illustrious awards such as the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the World Crafts Council Award and the Padma Vibhushan.
Why we find Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay inspiring:
– For her remarkable vision in sustaining India’s rich cultural heritage
– For her “out-of-the-box” thinking which led her to launch several previously unheard of initiatives successfully
– For being a champion of women’s rights and for fighting against archaic laws
– For realizing that if a country is to truly flourish, growth must be evident from the grassroots level
*Photo credit: wikipedia