Kumudini and its institutions follows on the beliefs and vision of founder, Rai Bahadur Ranada Prasad Shaha. One of the visions he saw was to improve the sorry plight of women still existing in the social hierarchy of Bangladesh. Having lost his mother to poor and unavailable medical services at an early age, the organisation was established to embody the care and shelter that was suddenly lost to R P Shaha.
Thus, the organisation fittingly took the name of his late mother, Kumudini Devi.
“Kumudini is not your average brand. It is a social revolution that was born from R P Shaha's drive to empower women,” stated Mahavir Pati, director of Kumudini Welfare Trust of Bengal (BD) Ltd.
But exactly how is Kumudini achieving such a feat?
Stories of women being exploited or neglected, particularly in the lower classes of rural Bengal are not unheard of. Many of these women would do wonders when crowned the bread-winners of their families. Financial stability can improve their quality of life, nullify dependence on others, and allow them to afford college tuitions, build houses and even save up for rainy days. Whether these overlooked artisans, brimming with skill, choose to work in embroidery, production or quality control, they have a shelter in Kumudini Handicrafts.
Not just handicrafts, other institutions of Kumudini also strive on similar goals.
“Kumudini changes lives by aiming to do something for the welfare of the community. And Kumudini Handicrafts has the sub divisional agenda of keeping Bengal's traditional heritage alive through its products,” enlightened Pati.
And with the agenda, the relaunch was set!
A haven for traditional merchandise, the outlet has been known to glorify traditional women's wear like saris, shalwar kameez and even shawls in muted tones and chic designs that scream regal at its finest.
What's new now is an even more eclectic range of options that is guaranteed to appeal to the fashionista on either extreme: the head-turner in pure elegance, and the diva in unforgettable glamour, and all with traces of traditionalism.
Racks of Jamdani saris with intricate thread work on drapes and borders, Muslin saris, soft in look and graceful in appeal, and bedazzling katan saris will pull you in for closer inspections. With ranges of Tk 5,000 and Tk 49,000 depending on the quality and the tight weaving of the threads for a single sari, one thing is guaranteed when you shop at Kumudini Handicrafts. And that is value for money. More on display are the fine details like Nakshi Kantha's running stitch, methods like tie n' dying and vibrant colours like cobalt blue and shimmery golden — all to be found here.
Shawls with the sheen of endi silk, shalwar kameez of iconic khadi fabric, and accessories such as vintage and leather bags, multipurpose pouches and 'batuas' will draw you in, and have you marvelling at the incredible craftsmanship they speak of. Even glassed showcases of ethnic and traditional jewellery pieces awed shoppers, enough to make sure they leave with something every time they drop by Kumudini Handicrafts.
“Kumudini is a brand behind a social cause and a rich history. We believe in upholding traditions every step of the way,” sums up Pati. And, hence, with such beliefs, Kumudini Handicrafts stands tall.
Photo: Orchid Chakma