In the bustling market, a myriad of exquisite jewelry and makeup items awaits women, adorning them with elegance during auspicious occasions and marriages. Amidst this diverse array, one stick stands apart as the most unique and beautiful choice for women - the Lahthi. Handcrafted with lacquer, heated over the flames of a home fire, this Lahthi holds a special place in the hearts of women. Symbolizing auspiciousness, it is revered and cherished by all.
To craft this exquisite Lahthi, lac is procured from West Bengal and brought to the enchanting district of Begusarai in Bihar. In rural Bihar, this lacquer-made masterpiece is also affectionately referred to as Lahna Lahti. During festive seasons, women seek it eagerly, adorning themselves with the grace of Lahna Lahthi.
Kaushalya Devi, a dedicated JEEVIKA member from the Bhagwanpur block of Begusarai, along with her entire family, wholeheartedly engages in the craftsmanship of Lahthi. Notably, four women from the neighborhood, closely associated with JEEVIKA, actively participate in this creative endeavor. For the past decade, these skilled JEEVIKA didis have been crafting Lahthi sticks with finesse.
Once the sticks are expertly fashioned, they are handed over to local shopkeepers, and in return, the JEEVIKA didis receive a fixed price ranging from 35 to 50 rupees per dozen. The mesmerizing designs of the bangles feature gems, metal, chemicals, stones, and plastic, sourced from various cities like Jaipur, Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata. A cherished symbol of good fortune, these sticks are an integral part of married women's adornment. Beyond their aesthetic allure, they also ensure the safety of women's skin, guarding against any skin-related concerns.
Kaushalya Devi, narrates how she and her fellow women work diligently together, crafting glass-studded Lahthi, Dulhan (bridal), Kashmiri, and cumin water bangles from dawn till dusk. The market demand for these magnificent sticks and bangles is consistently high, and the entrepreneurial group of four Didis crafts an impressive 100 dozen bangles each day. Kaushalya initiated this business with a loan from JEEVIKA, availing the opportunity at a mere 1% interest rate. Her thriving venture has become a testament to her hard work and tenacity. Through their efforts, all JEEVIKA didis enjoy a daily income ranging from 500 to 700 rupees, and the daily sales of Lahthi sticks amount to approximately 2500 rupees.
The Lahathi has brought about a remarkable transformation in the lives of these dedicated Didis. Not only have they achieved financial stability, but they have also woven threads of joy, prosperity, and success into the fabric of their existence.