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In post-independence India, a few brave women came forward to do pioneering work with a strong focus on a social cause. Pupul Jayakar was one of these.
Pupul Jayakar, who was also involved in the Indian freedom movement, is best known for her work in reviving India’s impoverished handloom sector and working to improve the lives of handloom workers. Besides her work in the textiles sector, she was also instrumental in setting up the the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a trust that continues its work in restoring and preserving valuable heritage buildings in different parts of India.
Her career was controversial, in that she was often accused of being a torch-bearer for the Nehru-Gandhi family and part of a ‘coterie’. Yet, her achievements were significant too. For her contributions to the cultural heritage of India, Pupul Jayakar was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1967.
Why we find Pupul Jayakar inspiring:
– Because she moved beyond her comfortable, ‘swish set’ world to work for a larger cause
– Because Indian handlooms are glorious and need more such champions
– Because she was a multi-tasker, with two biographies to her credit besides her work with culture and heritage
– Because she had immense confidence in herself and her eye for talent in art and craft
The tapestry of her life
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