This story is about Sushil Kumar Chatterjee aka Nakku da (93) resident of North Kolkata’s Nalin Sarkar Street. Nakku da is an avid traveller, a dreamer, a thinker and most importantly, a collector. His room on the first floor of his house is so full of collectables that it gets difficult for even two men to stand in the room at one time.
Nakku da can make you sit for hours and listen to the stories of his childhood days spent with famous writers, poets and actors. He says everything that he has in his collection, has come to him as if the cosmic power conspired it to happen. He has a lot say about life, and the way of life; things that we are losing every day. Amid stories, beliefs, faiths, and philosophies, you find 2,500 pictures of old Kolkata landscape in his room.
Some of his collectables are – an 18th century calling bell made in England, a World War I army receiver, a Swiss stopwatch made by ROCAR in 1930, a box of 300-year-old buttons made of seashells, 16 mm sound projector made in Germany in 1948, 200-year-old trumpets, the oldest of folk music instruments, 3,000 music records made of shellac, the first headphone that was imported to Kolkata, a camera that was used in World war I; the list is never-ending.
It is the 21st century and India is developing rapidly, however, the pace of development in rural and urban India is varying due to the lack of accessibility and opportunities in rural India. While children in these areas have limited access to quality education leading to unemployment and social exclusion, women are still at the back seat of household decision making and contribution to household income.
To break through the traditional norms and empower women in rural India is an ongoing endeavor. Project Nand Ghar, spearheaded by Vedanta Group, a globally diversified natural resources company, brings a ray of hope to rural India by providing education, nutrition, and healthcare to thousands of rural children and empowering women to gain economic independence through livelihood training workshops.
Nand Ghars are state-of-the-art modern Anganwadis built across rural India with a holistic approach to child welfare and skill development for women. Trade-based skill training workshops carried out at Nand Ghars have impacted women from the remotest part of the country enabling them to earn their own livelihood.
Their recent campaign on International Women’s Day was a celebration of #BalanceForBetter where women shared their stories of discovering pathways to self-reliance with help and support by Nand Ghar.
“The outside world was a far off reality for me from inside the boundary of our house. Nand Ghar helped open up the horizons and today, I am earning a livelihood and have found a purpose in Life,” says Dharma Maurya from Varanasi.
Thousands of women like Dharma Maurya have in them the urge to do something but do not have a platform, to begin with. Nand Ghar is giving them a purpose in life and wings to their dreams. Click on the link below to explore their stories.
Anil Agarwal, Founder, and Chairman, Vedanta Group, believes that a nation can only progress if we invest in the future of children and women. Vedanta in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development aims at constructing 4000 Nand Ghars across 11 states in India with the potential of impacting lives of 8.5 Cr children and 2 Cr women in rural India.
In a milestone achievement, Vedanta recently announced the inauguration of its’ 500th Nand Ghar at Chaksu Block in Jaipur. Today, 502 operational Nand Ghars across Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh are changing the lives of 17,000 children through pre-school learning imparted through advanced teaching with more than 11,000 of them being served nutritious meals every day. More than 8,000 women have obtained trade based skill training at Nand Ghar.
With more than 70% of the population living in rural India, the need for early childhood education and women empowerment cannot be undermined. The Logical Indian appreciates the efforts of Vedanta which is tirelessly working towards transforming the women and child development landscape in India.