Accordingly on the last Friday of March, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao kicked off his campaign for the Lok Sabha elections by addressing rallies in Hyderabad and Nalgonda district. Reportedly Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also in the state that day, campaigning in Mahabubnagar, where the Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping to win a seat as it had done 20 years ago.
Furthermore none of that mattered to Nagaroja Vallabhdas as she got ready to start work that morning. Like her parents and generations of her family before them, the 21 year old is a weaver. Her family belongs to the Padmashali caste of traditional weavers and lives in Pochampally, a town famous for its saris that showcase the intricate, geometric ikat designs. Pochampally lies in Telangana’s Bhongir district and parliamentary constituency.
Moreover Vallabhdas voted for the first time in the Telangana Assembly election in December and will cast her vote again on April 11 to send a representative to the Lok Sabha and she carries on the traditional family job because she does not have a choice. Reportedly her father died two years ago, after developing health problems associated with excessive drinking. She and her brother now help their mother operate the handloom that occupies half the front room of their two-room home. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi government has launched many programs to help power loom and handloom weavers in the state, many of whom have faced extreme distress. But no benefits have trickled down to Vallabhdas’ family.
Upasana Taku a successful woman entrepreneur of Mobikwik Kashmiri by blood and having Gujarat as alma mater, Upasana has relentlessly fought her way to the top. She worked on her marriage day, she shared home-cooked meals with the team of 5, gave up the luxurious lifestyle, patiently ignored to the gender bias and faced multiple challenges only to give back to her homeland. Of course, she had the entrepreneur calling from within her but also wanted it to be in the best interest of others too.
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