This Former Journalist Makes Political And Feminist Ragdolls And We Think It’s Phenomenal
Back in May this year, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came live on national TV to deliver a speech that urged all the citizens to move away foreign dependence and towards a more self-reliant or in his exact words ‘atmanirbhar Bharat’, his prime focus was to enable local vendors and businesses and support our own country during this tough time of a pandemic. And while that spirit of ‘vocal for local’ may have caught a steady momentum after his speech, efforts to boost local production and sales were being made since a long time particularly in the toy-making industry.And keeping that dream alive, to spread the work and art of Indian artisans crafting toys, is one such entreprenuer named Smriti Lamech, who believes in changing the world, one toy at a time.
The 41-year-old woman, who is a proud mother of two children and also the brains behind a successful toy-making business, Smriti is well known for her brilliant aesthetic sensibilities, a knack for textiles and an enthusiasm to translate her personal stories into pieces of art.
A former journalist, Smriti launched this Kodaikanal-based ‘Smritsonian’ during the lockdown where she started crafting making dolls with a sort of a feminist twist and beautiful doorway decorations also known as torans, with healthy and pleasant messages of peace. This was after she came across a self-help group called Prowess, where she saw women working as sole breadwinners of the family, and then decided to design unique dolls and give them orders, to also create more employment opportunities for them.
Also Read : Silver Lining: This Woman In Beirut Is Making Dolls For Kids Who Lost Theirs During The Beirut Blast. This Is Heart Warming
#MCWeekendReads | Smriti Lamech, who was keen to work for the traditional crafts' revival, launched Smritsonian during the lockdown, making bommai (dolls) with a feminist twist, and a message of peace.
— moneycontrol (@moneycontrolcom) November 28, 2020
The couple, Smriti and her husband had moved from Gurgaon to Kodaikanal only a year ago and were planning to move out again when the pandemic struck and changed their course of life. Also bringing a halt to Smriti’s anti-CAA activism, she shared, “I thought, here is something that I am doing for my children and for my nation. When the lockdown happened, all our planned protests also got cancelled.”
This was the time when she came around to the idea of doing something that would contribute to the society as well as a cause, which is when she thought of her old ragdolls she used to play with, that were a symbol for so much when she was little. She shared, “It took just about 30 seconds for the idea to flash in my head. I decided to make handcrafted feminist ragdolls.”
Meet Smriti Lamech, whose craft dolls of Kalpana Chawla and other women icons are a hithttps://t.co/3qMZsKpHfz
— The News Minute (@thenewsminute) September 23, 2020
Taking inspiration from and designing dolls in awe of real-life idols like Savitribai Phule, Kalpana Chawla, Maya Angelou and Frida Kahlo, Smriti embarked on this new idea to break past the patriarchal norms of our society. She didn’t think it would but her initiative took off and how, she started receiving orders not just from India but also US and Europe.
She went on to talk about how the pandemic did not make it easy and then talked about how these dolls meant more to her than just business. She said, “Smritsonian embodies every belief of mine. I did not have to compromise or bend. It was how I wanted it.” She continued, “I am a political person; I believe everybody is political. Everything you do – from what you eat to the clothing you wear – is what your government allows you. Every time you comply, you make a political choice and these are things that matter to me. And that is why everything that I have created conveys a political point of view.”
We are impressed by just how much thought and effort was put into creating something that wouldn’t just comfort young kids, but also give them a chance to look up to a few most successful and powerful women amongst us. And for all those looking for gifts for their younger siblings this Christmas, you know who to reach out to!