With Love For India
A winemaker who works with kiwi farmers in her region. A communications specialist who is creating empowering, feminist rag dolls. An adventure tour specialist who believes in local experiences. An entrepreneur who envisioned and launched an app to help everyone learn Indian languages. Another who brings traditional Maharashtrian fare to dining tables across the world. Our country is replete with visionaries who are working towards empowering local communities and artisans while educating the world about their skills and crafts. Made in India, for the world. In this special issue, we applaud these women who are putting India on the world map…
“Look for scalable ideas to become sustainable businesses and employment generators”
Co-founder of Aazol
Across the villages of India, the preparation of food is about so much more than just the end products. It is about the love that is pounded into that masala, the affection that is mixed into the chutney, the feeling of community. For decades, even as individuals have moved from the villages into the world, that love and affection has gone out to them in the form of packets and bottles of food to bring comfort in uncertain times. Now, with Aazol (the word means the home of maternal grandparents in Marathi), award-winning businesswoman Apurva Purohit and her son Siddharth work with 16 self-help groups (SHGs) and women micro entrepreneurs to bring the home-grown foods of Maharashtra. to urban Indian and global tables.
Excerpts from an interview:
“Increasingly, consumers are turning towards healthier options of eating, and towards locally-sourced foods that are fresher and more nutritious, more suitable for our bodies, and better for the planet in terms of their carbon footprint and allowing traditional agricultural practices to flourish. This realization set us on our course to launch Aazol.
“There was great wisdom, understanding and thought in the way our forefathers lived. When we eat food that is endemic to our region, we live in tune with these principles and with nature. The traditional way of healthy living and thinking is what Aazol’s products are showcasing. The fact that we curate ancient superfoods such as kuleeth peeth and khapli gahu peeth, traditional items such as bhardi and kaakvi as well as interesting hidden gems of the region such as mahua ladoos and amla gulkand sets us apart. Our sourcing from SHGs that have been making these products for generations by following rigorous best quality practices gives us a unique edge.
“If we want to truly showcase Indianness, our mindset has to change. Being Indian and traditional does not mean being unscientific, poor in aesthetics, hygiene and quality. While we have great local arts, crafts and food products, we have never focused enough on the packaging and aesthetics. Equally, we have been remiss in not building large-scale businesses focused on consistent high quality.
“My advice to entrepreneurs is to look for scalable ideas which, in turn, become sustainable businesses and employment generators. Many entrepreneurs only look at personal passions as a source for ideas, but you come up with a successful entrepreneurship only if you marry passion to what the world needs.
Also read: With Love For India: Julie Kagti, Founder of Curtain Call Adventures