A group of young artists is engaged in making a unique kind of Rakhi for the upcoming festival of Raksha Bandhan. They are turning desi cotton seeds from the villages of Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh and nearby Maharashtra into ‘eco-friendly’ rakhis.
The group of local artists/musicians from village Paradsinga in Chhindwara are helping poor farmers especially through promotion of organic farming and preservation of traditional seeds. They group is supported by the Nagpur Beejotsav Group and Gram Art and have taken up the task of making eco-friendly rakhis.
“It’s not our sisters who need protection, but also our mother earth. It is us, humans, who need to do it because it is us from whom she has to be protected,” Shweta Bhattad, one of the volunteers, said.
“Right from the fields of indigenous cotton, to the spinners and to the women in different villages converting every naturally dyed thread into a unique seed band, all are playing their part in protecting the earth and thereby protecting ourselves,” she added.
She feels that buying these rakhis will encourage indigenous cotton growers to stay away from poisonous genetically modified seeds.
The volunteers also help out farmers by sourcing cotton seeds directly at a premium on MSP.
“Last year we paid Rs 5000/quintal and this year Rs 6,000 a quintal to farmers for sourcing cotton seeds for the project and this was more than the MSP,” another volunteer Tanmay said.
Beejotsav was also organised by these volunteers in Chhindwara where farmers exchanged their traditional knowledge and seeds.
These unique rakhis are likely to be available in New Delhi shortly.
As a result of these efforts, two farmers already have shunned hybrid seeds and started cotton farming with desi seeds in Paradsinga village. Last year, these artists, with the help of local farmers, had grown vegetables organically on 7200 sq feet.
“We are not any NGO, company or any organisation, using our art, we just wanted to bring about little changes in the lives of locals in day-to-day life with small endeavours,” Bhattad added.