Commemorating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav in an Original Way: Mysurean’s Varied Shades of Patriotism
By Sujata Rajpal
There are different ways to show patriotism. One wonders what an ordinary man or woman can do for the country, other than bragging about the sacrifices made by freedom fighters and defense forces, writing inspirational poetry expressing love for the country and saluting the national flag on Independence Day during community functions. .
Well, these are just a few ways to show love for the country. Patriotism means different things to different people. One such proud Indian citizen and resident of Mysuru is Dr. Manik AV Bengeri who wishes to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in an original way.
Knowing the art of crochet well, this septuagenarian decided to use her skills not only to illustrate her patriotism, but also to generate funds for the army through her skills.
Handmade crochet items such as national flags, keychains, badges, car sheds, garlands, bracelets, all in our national flag colors and with the Ashoka chakra, are up for grabs. Proceeds from the sale of these crochet pieces would go to the Army Corpus Fund.
Opening box after box, Dr. Manik Bengeri showed me his labor of love. Displaying them proudly on the bed, she explained the intricacies of the design and inspiration behind each piece. Depending on the length, size and pattern, the time needed to crochet each piece ranges from five hours to five days.
I was amazed not only by the enormous effort and time spent on this mission, but also by his risk-taking attitude because the investment is not only the time but also the wool yarns in the colors of the Habs and other ingredients.
‘What if these items are not sold?’ I can’t help but ask even though I doubted anyone could resist such exotic creations. “These are selling like hot cakes and just by word of mouth,” the proud designer says with a twinkle in her eye. “These trinkets are perfect for Independence Day gifts for kids and adults alike.”
Dr. Manik Bengeri, who embarked on this mission six months ago, has crocheted around 600 pieces. “Half of them have been sold, but I continue to make them,” she says with overflowing enthusiasm.
‘Don’t your wrists hurt from working on them all the time?’ I ask, and in response she points to a bottle of painkiller spray on the table.
This is not the first time that this elderly person has undertaken such an honorary adventure. At the age of 12 in 1950, when asked by her teacher to raise funds for the liberation of Goa, she made garlands of fresh marigold flowers and sold them to generate funds. The seed capital was donated by his father. The exercise was repeated in 1962 during the Indochina war. “But for the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, I wanted to create something permanent that people could gift and preserve.” If my efforts can inspire even one person to make a small contribution to our country, that pain is worth it,” says the proud Indian citizen.
Dr Manik Bengeri wears many hats – she is a qualified Hindustani music teacher, undertakes teacher training courses for public school teachers and is the author of nine books in Hindi, Sanskrit, Marathi and Kannada on values morals and culture. She is the recipient of the Ramnath Goenka Sahitya Ratna Prize for Literature in 2016.
Born and raised in Belgaum (now Belagavi), Dr. Manik Bengeri became the breadwinner of her family at the age of 20. Later, alongside her work in banking, she did an MA and PhD in Hindi, majored in Hindustani Classical Music and also earned a degree in Journalism from Mysore University. Her day is filled with teaching Sanskrit and music, researching her books, and writing about art and culture. She also teaches crochet. So if you want to literally wear nationalism on your sleeve contact her on tel: 0821-2542997 or email: [email protected]