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‘E-id’ Mubarak: JWB Is Bringing Musarrat Jahan’s Laakh Bangles Business Online

  • IWB Post
  •  July 7, 2016

 

Musarrat Jahan, a fifty-something woman, manages her shop ‘Apsara’ at the narrow Maniharon ka Rasta. She sells all sorts of beautiful chudiyan and bangles.

JWB is helping her develop an online portal so that she can sell her products overseas to admirers. She is one of the women whose business will be brought online by Team JWB under the campaign E-id. The campaign, inaugurated on the auspicious occasion of Eid’16, is meant to uplift the underprivileged Muslim women artisans in Jaipur by growing their home businesses on the e-commerce.21

Musarrat is an expert in making laakh bangles that adorn the sparkling stones of all sizes and colors. Occasions like Karwa-Chauth, Teej, Eid, and weddings make her business bloom more than usual.

Musarrat’s husband is an electronic repairer who hardly gets too many customers. Most of the time, he sits at the shop to accompany his wife.

Their eight daughters, three of whom are now married, also know the artwork. We spotted the fourth one sincerely designing a bangle with red, green and white stones by first heating the laakh and applying stones on it in an intricate manner.47

“The work now comes naturally to us. We’ve inherited it from our forefathers. It’s almost a seven-generation old business. Our ancestors were from Iran, by the way”, exclaimed Musarrat.

Ask her about the USP and she will display few bangle sets arranged neatly on the wooden racks. Describing one of those, she said, “We can write your name on the bangle. Hotel Trident got one made for them, too.”6

Her eyes twinkled as she showed us few more. The one with a big stone, big floral motifs, stone-applique art ones, etc. Beautifully unique, indeed.

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Since JWB is going to support her expand the business, we enquired about her current monthly income. Sadly, we got to know that this month, she couldn’t earn a single rupee. “Iss mahine abhi tak boni nahi huyi,” she answered.

So how does the couple manage the family expenses? She said, “It is difficult. Managing their school fee, marriage expenses along with daily consumption are heavy on our pockets. As parents, we want to do our best. The elder ones are wise, so they understand. But we can’t explain everything to our three youngest daughters. They demand to get new bags, frocks, toys occasionally. Not every time can we fulfill their desires. It’s painful.”cover

She continued, “Sometimes in a fit of anger; my husband threatens to close down the shop. His anger is palpable, after all.”

Meanwhile, her youngest daughter, Lasani, decided to steal the frame from her mother and told us a little secret, “Lavanya Bajji, do you know we also make ‘Gulaal Gothe’? It was used by the royals to store gulaal during the festival of Holi. See!”3

She spread her little palms in front of me, covered in laal-gulaal. Interestingly, the ‘Gulaal Gothe’ is made of fragile layers of Laakh. 16

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Before bidding them goodbye and promising to meet tomorrow to teach them about online business, I asked them, “Eid ki tayyari ho gayi?”  To which Lasani and her immediate elder sister, Rifaqat replied, “We’ve bought new salwar-kameez, dupattas, and bags. We’ve selected matching bangles from what we have here. Now all we need are new pairs of shoes and put some mehendi on our hands. We can’t wait for the evening to visit the night market. Will you come?”

I smiled, ruffled the hair of my new little friends, and wished them a Happy Eid. Or, should I say, Happy E-id!

Dear readers, here is the link to the newly created Facebook page of Musarrat Jahan’s brand Apsara. We request you to kindly visit the page, hit ‘Like’ and support her passion and endeavor.

Photo courtesy: Pallav Bhargava

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