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Updated: July 8, 2013 00:27 IST

She swam against the tide, empowered lives

Staff Reporter
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Lalitha Prasad
Lalitha Prasad

CCAP’s founding member Lalitha Prasad, who passed away in December 2012, was the driving force behind many of the crafts council’s ventures

The 2009 floods had ravaged Kurnool and its neighbouring villages, populated by large number of weaver families. The waters and the slush that was deposited in its wake in villages like Alampur and Nagaldinne had destroyed hundreds of looms, imperilling their livelihood.

“After the floods, along with Lalitha Prasad, CCAP founder, we were in Alampur; submerged in waist-deep water and desperately trying to reach weavers and their families. She goaded us and kept pushing despite floods. We travelled deep and reached a remote village Nagaldinne, where nearly 700 looms were destroyed. At any cost, Lalitha wanted to reach affected families to provide succour,” says Meena Appnender, secretary of CCAP.

Ms. Appnender was recalling an incident about the late Lalitha Prasad, the woman reckoned to be the driving force behind the crafts council. The CCAP’s founding member, Ms. Prasad, who passed away in December last year, was well-known for her relentless drive to identify and revive dying craft forms and struggling artisans.

“She was extremely passionate about empowering women and played a key role in organising women artisans into groups, providing them opportunities to hone skills in embroidery and making a living. Thanks to her efforts, we raised funds and distributed close to 300 looms in Alampur and Nagaldinne. She never compromised on quality and we purchased looms made up of high quality teakwood worth Rs. 25,000 each,” says Ms. Meena, who was also Ms. Prasad’s niece.

Lalitha Prasad travelled widely in search of new culture, art forms, traditions, craft and craftspeople.

“Language or religion did not stop her from exploring the markets for baskets in Indonesia, craft villages of South America, Tatami screen makers in Japan, dry flower-makers in Australia and artificial flower-makers in Bangkok, all of which are inaccessible to ordinary tourists,” Ms. Meena fondly recalls.

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