This journey started in 2012 when I had gone with family and friends to visit Taj Mahal (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. During the stay in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri we were roaming around and had reached an area where a group of women was sitting outside their home in a social gathering place. The whole group was busy with some work.
While passing, I noted that the women were busy in doing Zardozi and embroidered work. This was a different and pleasant experience for me because the threads of zari were taking dream shape in their work and getting printed on an ordinary cloth. Out of curiosity, I asked about their work and took few photographs and noticed that they were making zari Bags. I further investigated about those bags to buy, lady refused and replied that those were getting ready for Contractor. I got puzzled to know that these women are getting 40-50 rupees per day as labor cost. It was shocking that the wages was very low and to earn this amount they have to work around 8-10 hours a day. I again asked why you were paid so less for such an amazing Art and where these work goes. One of them replied in foreign (International countries), but we get work from Contractor whereas contractor gets work from different cities. I asked are you getting money every day for your work, she replied that they get money in a month or two.
I left the place & noticed that similar kind of work was happening nearby and mostly by women.
I captured this thought and reached home back in Delhi. Then I did research in Indian Art and Artisan's life in-depth. I was amazed to know that Indian Art, Culture and Tradition is deeply rooted in Indian Society especially in rural Areas.
While working as a business professional, I've always had a deep passion for social causes, especially helping the less fortunate and I thought that something needs to be done for Indian Art and Artisans.
I kept on searching and met a number of artisans and learned about their lives and how they were living. They created beautiful crafts by hand from materials like wood, cloth and threads etc., which I thought was phenomenal. What really moved me was that, even though this art is world-famous, the artisans were paid so little. They were earning almost nothing and yet had to make do with it to pay for rent, food, education, daily expenses and more.
I also met Shavez and his father Sabir Khan from Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi) & went along with them to visit Shahjahanabad where I found that Artisans were making Jewelry and I saw deprived lifestyle of Artisans in that area too. They were making handmade Jewelry and Iron Crafts. After couple of visits, one of the Artisan (Shabana) became my friend.
After few months I got married with an IT Professional. My research was continued even after my marriage and I visited several Delhi markets like Janpath, Connaught Place and Lajpat Nagar etc., where similar goods was available. I found Retailers and Big shops but no Artisan. I asked Shopkeepers about Artisans and they were not having any information (or they might not want to share). I checked the products, they were expensive, I was upset knowing that Artisans were paid so less when the products are so expensive.
I discussed with my husband and shared my emotions & willingness to do something to improve current situations of Artisans in India. He supported the decision and said that I can go ahead with my choice.
With my savings and commitments, I decided to continue further in this Nobel profession and tendered my resignation from the Organization where I was working as Senior Marketing Professional.
After my resignation, I started exploring full-time. This way I formed a company known as Master Piece Crafts International Pvt. Ltd. and Master Piece Crafts Foundation.
This is also the sole reason of why I left my job to start out on my own.
Our artisans should earn what their work is worth, and it is my mission to help make this happen.