Ragini Kumari lives in Darbhanga district of Bihar. She comes from a very conservative rural Indian family, where girls are married oﬀ at a very young age. Her fate was no diﬀerent. She got married when she was 16 and soon became a mother of two. Despite having a poor family background and endless household responsibilities, Ragini never stopped dreaming. Her determination to change her life made her join an institution where she learnt the art of Mithila paintings. Thereafter, the institute employed Ragini to teach other women the art.
Whilst being an inspiration to others, Ragini wasn’t satisﬁed with what she was doing. “The job did not pay too well to provide for my family and, especially my two kids, with a bright future”, shares Ragini.“I wanted to do something more; after some deliberation, I set up a small boutique of Madhubani paintings in my house. Whilst villagers would visit to have a look, unfortunately, there were not many buyers for my art.”
One day, Ragini heard about the Internet Saathi programme, in which women were given a mobile phone and trained to use it to access online services, post which,they would train other women similarly. Ragini had never used a mobile phone earlier and she was eager to be a part of the programme.
Upon joining the programme, Ragini received 2 mobiles and soon realised that she could access the World Wide Web to expand her business, whilst getting fresh ideas for new designs. She created her Facebook account and shared her paintings world-wide, in the process, enhancing her business.
Simultaneously, Ragini continued interacting with women in her community, inspiring them to break the glass ceiling and touch the sky. A proud Ragini shares, “I received an award for my eﬀorts in the ﬁeld of social work. Today, people associate me with my Madhubani paintings not only in my village but also from neighbouring places.”
Ragini has carved out her own path with determination and hard work. She feels that this is her tribute to the nation’s traditional heritage. When asked about her life, Ragini says, “Hunar hai toh kadar hai. If you want to do something diﬀerent in life, do it now and never look back.”
This story has been taken from the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Allied Trusts Annual Report 2019-20