My mother, Kunda Kirloskar, was one of the most independent women I have ever met. She was an accomplished classical sitarist; played badminton to a high level; repaired cameras in her father’s shop and won medals for her art.
Kunda was unconventional: she married in her mid-thirties, at a time when it was usual for a woman to settle down with a life partner at twenty. After marriage she retained her independent streak in spite of slipping into the role of a homemaker and giving up most of her pursuits, notably her art. She did the accounts for the family business; settled disputes amongst staff; and helped in the education of children of deprived families.
Kunda always noted that women who worked as domestic help in India were often sole breadwinners, lacking in self-confidence and having to compromise their independence. In the later years of her life, she picked up her art brush again and decided to use it to do something about this situation.
This is how Kundakala was born – a social enterprise selling Kunda’s art on products such as scarves, coasters and prints.
The idea is to run tailoring workshops all over the world and provide women with career guidance and training to help them take the steps towards being financially independent. The workshop attendees are given a paid commission to make Kundakala products and then sent on their way to either start their own businesses or gain employment in the tailoring industry.
My sisters and Kunda’s beloved grandchildren are fully invested in this enterprise. Please support us and the women we help by buying our products.
– Poornima Kirloskar-Saini