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Ritu Kumar:      A Heart That Honours

Ritu Kumar Revivalist of Indian embroidery and craft traditions;  Bringing to the world beauty based on Indian roots,and richness of aesthetics and culture;  Empowering artisans in remote rural areas by bringing in self-respect and financial stability;  Recipient: Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award for outstanding contribution and achievements;  Recipient: Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur award by PHD Chamber of Commerce;  Recipient: Lifetime Achievements award by National Institute of Fashion Technology;  Author, “Textiles and Costumes of India”.

  Dear Rashmi,

Your experience in life is one that has turned adversity into a lyrical calling. A very unusual vocation and one that takes a lot of courage – it is difficult at the best of times to endorse a positive side of life. You have the ability to look for brightness after a very dark time. The ability comes from being rooted in a strong conviction and culture which endorses human involvement, but also gives the strength of character to break away from relationships which have no meaning anymore.

It is an honour to have a rootedness which does not let one drown in easy escapes. Your poem on “I honour my roots” makes a soaring comment on the state of mind that you find yourself in today. There is the acceptance of fate, the tribute to your ancestry, the feeling of lightness with the elements playing a lilting role in the happy frame of mind that you have willed yourself to achieve. The banyan tree grows, sends out myriad branches in more vertical than horizontal directions, the tree also has a thick blanket of leaves which gives restful shade. Amid this forest one thinks of Robert Frost whose work could well have been written for a life such as yours and that of the children, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep… but I have promises to keep… and miles to go before I sleep.”

The roots of the banyan tree are endless too, and way too deep… their strength and vitality is a tower of strength which I feel you have imbibed in no small measure.

I wish the book all the success, and hope it will be as enjoyable an experience for you who wrote it… and the women in particular who will read it.

With best regards,

- Ritu Kumar

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