"I learned this craft to carry forward the work of my ancestors, so that the art does not become extinct."
I'm from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. My friends describe me as a confident person, hardworking, honest and helpful.
Since my childhood, I've been interested in batik work. My family has carried on this tradition for many years now. In fact, my grandfather is one of the pioneers in batik work, and I'm so fortunate to inherit this work from my grandfather and father. Besides batik, my grandfather and father also specialized in kalamkari, screen printing and block printing. My grandfather is the person who started this artwork and, along with my father, he introduced it to all of the villagers. He is a great craftsman and always had a keen desire to do more and more in the field of crafts. At present, approximately 75 percent of the villagers are doing this work. We believe that knowledge grows by sharing.
I'm inspired by both men. I want to become just like them and follow in their footsteps. When I started working in batik work, I had to make a woodblock. But at that time, I didn't have proper tools — I used a cutter and a knife. I made the designs and people liked them very much. I was happy, and my grandfather and father were also very happy to see that. They appreciated me, which means a lot.
We have a small workshop where all family members work together with the local people who are interested in this art. Working with us is a source of employment for a lot of people, especially women who don't have a source of income or who are not able to go out of their houses. These women work with us part-time.
We know our work well and always try to give our best. We concentrate on the quality even if it takes a lot of time. We don't compromise on it. An artist is known only on the basis of the quality of his work. We work with both cotton and silk fabrics. Our batik wax is reusable, which is the greatest thing in our work. We try to create something rare and unique every time. But at times, selling our textiles is very difficult because there are very few people who understand the value of this art.
I learned this craft to carry forward the work of my ancestors, so that the art does not become extinct. I wish to create a name for myself and my forefathers. I am thankful to you for giving me an opportunity to exhibit my work to the whole world.