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Vaishno Devi Ladoos and Economic Empowerment of Women

The ladoos (sweet) that are given as ‘prasad’ (offering) in the famous Vaishno Devi temple is slowly transforming the financial fortune of Parthal village, which is two kilometer from the shrine. Thanks to Dr Anil P Joshi of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO), who during one of his visits to the shrine noticed that the ‘ladoos’ distributed in the shrine came from far flung urban centers and thought about changing it.

Raju William writes in Tribune

Anil P Joshi said “At the shrine, I noticed that prasad offered here was prepared and brought from outside urban centers, so I thought why can’t this be prepared by the rural folks, especially women of the area by equipping them with technology evolved by my organization to process the local farm produce. To me, this seemed as a sure way of providing employment to them.”

So, this village nearest to the shrine was chosen for the purpose after assessing the economic condition of its people. He then negotiated with authorities of the shrine board, who readily agreed and assured purchase followed. Earlier, he had successfully provided employment in this way in areas around temples of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Gangotri.

The women got organized under banner of Vaishnavi Mahila Dal (VMD). The sale increased from 500 to 1,000 packets daily, achieving present annual turnover of around Rs 3 million.

Where there is a will, there is a way. The most ignored and the struggling lot in rural India is the Hindu women. The two important reasons being severe economic crisis and caste system.

There is always a talk about large economic projects to help women. Most of them remain in paper. The need of the hour is not large unpractical projects but small projects like the ‘Vaishnodevi ladoo production.’