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Raj tribal women script story of empowerment selling herbal gulal

Udaipur Holi has made a mark across the world for the grand celebrations by the erstwhile royals. However, this year, the celebration will be about the empowerment of women, which has been scripted by the tribal women themselves, who are engaged in making and marketing herbal gulal made from plants and flowers.

A silent revolution is in the making in Rajasthan's tribal town of Kotda in Udaipur district where the expert hands of tribal women are making this unique gulal by using beetroot for red colour, rose flower for pink, palash flowers for yellow colour and so on.

The women self-help groups of the remote tribal area are working hard to ensure their herbal gulal made by using forest produce reaches the tourists who visit Udaipur to celebrate Holi.

In fact, the Rajasthan Grameen Aajivika Vikas Parishad has made special gift hampers which have been showcased at stalls being set up in malls, tourist places and cooperative markets too so that tourists thronging these places take along the most rare products to their places to ensure they give the message of a chemical-free Holi.

Suman Ajmera, district project manager, Rajasthan Grameen Aajivika Vikas Parishad, Udaipur, Rajsamand said, "Tribal women from Jhadol and Kotda have been making this herbal gulal from flowers. Now we aim to give maximum benefits to these women by selling their products. Also we aim for more people to join the campaign to play herbal holi.

"We have prepared special attractive gift hampers on Holi festival, which are being made available to various government organisations, corporates and others at subsidised rates so that the colours of skills of these tribal women can reach the country and the world through these gift hampers.

"While launching these gift hampers and posters we have called upon the various government, industrial, business, social organisations and interested members of the general public to make these tribals as gift hampers of herbal gulal on this Holi," she added.

Suryaveersinh Rathod, District Manager, Rajeevika Udaipur, said that these herbal gulal packets and gift hampers are available in the range of Rs 120 to Rs 500, which can be obtained from any counters set up in the city.

The district administration has set up counters at various tourist places of Udaipur city through Rajivika with a view to providing reasonable prices for the products made by these tribal women. Along with this, packets of herbal gulal and gift hampers are also being made available at the consumer stores of the cooperative department.

Places being thronged by tourists, including Tribes India Showroom, Rajivika Office, Saheliyon Ki Bari, Pratap Gaurav Kendra, Karni Mata Ropeway, Maharana Pratap Memorial Moti Magri, Fish Aquarium Fatehsagar, Lok kala Mandal. etc., are displaying the colourful packets of Gulal.

The idea behind the mission is that the people should know about the ancient history of how the gulal was made, they should use the herbal products on this Holi which will also promote the idea of Atmanirbhar Bharat. We have organised stalls at tourist spots, malls and different places to ensure these women get regular income, said Suman.

The process of making this herbal gulal is quite simple. Flowers are plucked and boiled in hot water. After cooling it, and grinding in a mixer, aromatic extracts are added and herbal gulal is prepared. Women mix the extracts with their hands before grinding and then pack the gulal in packets.

In other words, herbal gulal is prepared by handpicked flowers by the Self-Help Group women. The product is promoted by district collector and CEO Zila Parishad.

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