The Start-up in You Part-2: Wielding the Power of One’s Past

Everyone around us comes from a different set of circumstance; instances during our upbringing which invariably shape the way we look at the world. Ever so often, we find ourselves wallowing in the fact that our circumstances were just not good enough, even using this as an excuse to stop ourselves from reaching our true inner potential. Moreover, we also compare ourselves with other people and cherish the comfort and opportunistic upbringing that we had received. On the other hand, this knowledge can also be used as an excuse to live off the privilege that you have and using it for something completely counter-productive. Yes, I am talking about the myriad people who base their living on being spoonfed. 

Here are the stories of women who were from completely different backgrounds and upbringings, but chose to make the best use of their inherent backgrounds for pursuing their own passion.

The Weaver of Passion

Imagine being born into a rural setting in a village in Southern Gujarat, where the prospect of nurturing or even giving birth to a girl child is considered to be as good as a curse. Moreover, being married into a family which looks down upon you and continues to imprison you inside the moral obligations of traditional patriarchal belief systems. Let’s pile up one more layer of limitation on this story; imagine being in a position where you cannot even apply for divorce due to the intense social stigma associated with divorcees in rural settings. I think most of you would agree with me when I say that these are quite unlikely circumstances from whence an entrepreneur can arise from.

Kokilaben amidst her creative musings

But, these are the exact circumstances which molded Kokilaben’s entry into the world of opportunity through entrepreneurship. Her inherent need to find meaning or a passion in her life is what urged her to take up handicraft creation as a passionate way of finding an escape through the everyday drudgeries of life. She eventually turned this passion of hers into a large-scale enterprise in itself, where she would bring together the women of her community who shared similar passion for the creation of handicrafts. This is how she helped several women find their escape through a medium of creativity, where there were no bounds or societal limitations to deal with.

Kokilaben in her creative headspace

While we are talking about backgrounds as such, there is another side of the coin which we need to explore. Imagine beinig born to a wealthy family, where you are given complete freedom to pursue whatever lifestyle you want to. Moreover, you are married to a supportive doctor when you come of age, which immediately solves the problem of financial stability. What would be the most apparent way that this kind of background would mold a person. Well, the most plausible answer would be a person who has lived a life of being spoonfed and would continue doing that from the various people who come into her life.

The Keystone on the Bridge of Opportunity


Hetal Amin
Hetal Amin


However, these very circumstances resulted in the molding of the person who is Hetal Amin. She is the founder of one of the biggest handicraft manufacturing companies in Ahmedabad and is also a part of one of the biggest organizations which helps rural women, like Kokilaben, to find an escape through the medium of creativity. What did she do? Well, she provided one of the biggest platforms where women can express themselves through the mode of crafting and creating handicrafts and find a way of earning their living without being dependent on the wages and lifestyles of any patriarchal counterpart.

Her company, Ganesha Handicrafts is now a platform for up to 3000 women to express themselves creatively and find a common ground through their experiences. Hetal Amin is also the President of the Kalyani Sahsik Mahila Vikas Sangh, which is a place where women can find solace from their everyday mundane and even violent backgrounds and can confide in other women and share their experiences.

This only goes to show that the inherent backgrounds and types of upbringing that we have received can be seen as an incredible source of power as well as inspiration. The only ones who can harness this power are the ones who do not deter from their passion even in the face of adversity and strive to work towards it irrespective of the kind of upbringing they have gone through.

Go ahead, be free or strive for freedom, fill your need or find one, satiate the flame of passion or use your obstacles as the oil for the flame to shine bright!

About Ashwin Ramesh

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