Express News Service
RANCHI: Impressed with the artistic skills of tribal woman Mira Devi from the Maoist hotbed of Khunti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with her in his ‘Maan ki Baat’ programme on Sunday.
Through her determination and hard work, Mira Devi, who was like any other woman in her village Kelo under Rania Block, has now become a master trainer in bamboo handicraft art and training several others like her in the art-making them self-reliant.
Mira Devi, 35, has become a role model for other women in her community as after getting trained in bamboo handicrafts she is producing various bamboo handicraft designs such as pen stands, boxes, lampshades, lanterns, and various other decorative items in order to compete with the market product and increased her income manifold becoming financially independent.
“Earlier, I used to make traditional ‘sup’ and ‘daura’ (bamboo baskets) at home and used to sell them in the local market earning merely 200-250 every month, but now, after being training in bamboo art, I am earning more than 3000 a month along with other women in the group. We make bamboo items collectively which are sold in the market with the help of Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS),” said Mira Devi. She received training from Mahila Vikas Sanstha in the year 2018 in the village itself by the trainers from Ranchi, following which, she started to connect with other women in the village by providing them training and reached this position, she added.
According to Mira Devi, JSLPS is promoting her products, besides providing marketing and financial support to her. “After getting a month-long proper training from Torpa Rural Development Society for Women (TRDSW), I am also providing training to the woman and giving employment opportunities to them. Currently, she is attached with 20 women in the village, she added.
“I also go to other districts like West Singhbhum, Gumla and Khunti for providing training to others and have trained more than 150 men and women so far who are now earning on their own by making bamboo items,” said Mira Devi. Initially, she was the only woman in the village who was skilled in this art, but later she encouraged others also to join her after providing training to them making a total strength to more than 50 women, she added.
But gradually, due to the lack of proper market for their products, said Mira Devi, many of them lost interest and now only 20 women remained active in the group. The product is sold in the market collectively and the profit is shared equally among the women in the group, she said.
Enthused Mira Devi said that she was overwhelmed to hear that PM Modi will talk to her in his ‘Mann ki Baat.’ “It will really be a proud moment for me that I would talk to PM Modi in his ‘Mann ki Baat.’ It feels like I am flying in the sky and the moon is just a few steps away,” said Mira Devi. She has also made a gift made of bamboo art on his own for PM Modi, she added.
Mira said that she will tell him that she would like to spread this skill to the entire Jharkhand and the country as well if given proper support and chance from the government. Earlier, there was no respect for her in the village, but now, people give her respect which is really encouraging for her, she said.
Local social activist Chandrashekhar Gupta is of the view that it is really inspirational that belonging to a remote place where even the basic amenities are lacking, this tribal woman is doing such a great job besides becoming self-reliant.
“I was stunned to see her skill in bamboo art and believe that if given proper opportunities, she can even make Rs 50,000 to Rs 1, 00000 a month. Earlier, 50 women were attached to her but due to poor market conditions only 20 women are currently active in her group,” said Gupta. She is also a master trainer, who, besides making bamboo products also train other women even in other districts for which she is paid separately.
Mira Devi has 2 children – the elder one is 11 years old and the younger one is 6 years old. Her husband’s name is Birsa Manji who works as a mason.