My parental home is in Thekachak Village in Midnapur. My parital home is in Chaitanyapur, Sutahati. My in-laws had six or seven children. Due to the large family, there was great poverty and a dearth of food in their home as well. Because of that I left them and settled at my parental home. I got a little help here, and with my husband, I used to make clay dolls and idols. I did other work as well. We lived in poverty. Both of us worked tirelessly to run our family.

Then I had six sons. I don’t have any daughters. We had to struggle hard to bring them up. We worked like beasts to maintain them. Shaymsudnar and Rani formed an organization here. Both of them asked me to join them because I was an elderly woman. Our problems lightened by the scroll work. Before I learned this work, my husband and I would beg in the villages. Now both of us earn by painting scrolls. My parents were very poor. They had to beg to bring us up. My mother carried things she used to sell while begging. My father would take his scrolls along. They brought up their seven children through terrible hardship. I was 12 when I married young. I spent six years at my martial home. They were very poor, also. There were six sons and three daughters. We hardly got enough to eat. How could a family with nine children eat well? Things were bad before I joined the committee. I was too poor to eat full meals. I used to beg.

But things have gotten better. I am not so poor anymore; I have fewer problems. I can manage my household expenses well. I have met and interacted with many kinds of people; Westerners and Indians. I have told my siblings to keep this work going. I have told the to learn it carefully so they can earn through it and progress in life when we are gone. I encourage them like this: “You can see in this neighborhood, everybody is involved in creating scrolls. All of them are earning money from this work. Scroll painting is our major source of income now.”


Scrolls by Snehalata