Taja 8 – in Pataudi, Haryana
Pataudi is a small town in the state of Haryana. It is 60 kilometers away in the west of Delhi. Before the English came the town was ruled by the feudal ruler family of Nawab of Pataudi. During those times he ruled 52 villages surrounding Pataudi town. He also built his palace there. The times changed and the rulers lost their power, glory and territory. But the name of Pataudi still remains known. The population of Pataudi consists of both the Muslims and Hindu communities. They have always lived in peace here.
The Nawab still owns agricultural land in Pataudi and the area around and lends the land to very small farmers on Ugahi (yearly contract basis). The father of the master craftsman Yunus, worked there as a labourer for many years, but had to stop working on Ugahi, as he could not earn enough even to pay back his Ugahi taxes to the Nawab. There was never enough to feed the family of six children. He remained poor as he was too honest a man. Telling this story we could see deep sorrow in the eyes of Yunus who is around 40 years of age and the father of three children today. He is the master craftsman making metal/glass beads jewellery, together with his fellow artisans from the village, Pataudi.
In early 1990’s, Mohd. Yunus the master-craftsmen and his fellow-craftsmen approached Tara Projects to seek help in marketing their products more effectively. Earlier they were trying to sell jewellery in the mainstream market. Tara social workers informed about the aims of the Project. Tara team visited the village and their one room rented workshop. Consequently, it was decided to support the group. In the beginning there were only two three artisans but fifteen years later today more than 35 artisans are associated directly. There are more than three self help groups with 40 members mainly women are supported from time to time to learn to make jewellery and stitching.
The group was named as TAJA-8. It is a success story as in all these years the group was successful to attract many young person’s to join, learn and work together. It has helped them to stay with their families and not to migrate to the urban areas. Most of the young persons are producing Sajai traditional craft. They also make jewellery. In the beginning, there were only male members who were working there. With the support and motivation from the social workers many young women who were working in the agricultural field also learnt to make the jewellery and joined the group. It helped them to save some money for their marriages. In the last five years more than 30 women have received training and could save their earnings. Many of them are settled today.
The group also managed to construct a spacious seven room workshop in the phases with the capacity building support from Tara. Five years ago they also installed electro plating and casting plant. This initiative has made them more independent and now they do not have depend on the others in the mainstream market.
The artisans in the TAJA-8 are earning from INR 5000/- to INR 8500/- per month depends on their skills. The positive aspect of the group is that both “Muslims and Hindus” are working together in harmony. With times they have also become much aware about Fair Trade and to be environmentally responsible. With the support from Tara they have also constructed a “rain water harvesting structure” within the workshop. An year ago they could also electro plating plant.
In the words of master craftsman, Mohd. Yunus, “we are happy to be the part of Fair Trade. Earlier we didn’t know that child labour is an evil. Today with our hard work we are able to send our children to good schools. We are also happy to participate in the various community development activities organized by Tara.