Beyond Gladrags and to her Naga Roots – the journey of Kagholi Chishi

Beyond Gladrags and to her Naga Roots – the journey of  Kagholi Chishi

Handicraft items are a source of income for many even in modern times. The increasing value of handicraft items owing to the fact that a huge amount of detailing and hard work goes into the production of each item is gradually being recognized by many people all over the world and the fact cannot be denied that the possession of any such item becomes a priceless commodity due to the intricate essence it carries with itself.

Many people of Northeast India engage themselves in the production of handicraft items not only for their income but also because they wish to trap the essence of their homeland in their works, and what better way to portray the aura of the place than through fine detailing of handcrafted commodities! And not only this, it has also become a form of empowerment for the women folk who use their skills productively thereby becoming self dependent. Moreover, the easy availability of an online podium paves way for effective publicity of such initiatives to reach the masses far and wide.

One such fine initiative comes from Kagholi Chishi in the form of ‘Little Miracles’- an impressive initiative by her to create 100% handcrafted items with the basic theme being ‘Nagaland’. Her products are ideal for gifting or simply to get you something pretty. A lone initiative, Kagholi is the brainchild behind this fine beginning.

Little Miracles was started by Kagholi with an aim to pursue her hobby which was unfulfilled for a very long time owing to various other priorities in her life. She works single-handedly right from the collection of raw materials to production as well as packaging the items. She says, ” I really face a lot of trouble in the packaging front as the items are such that they require real good packaging mainly because I am trying to vie for the out market and not too much of a domestic market, may be because its art and people who really appreciate art would understand what I am trying to convey through my works”.

It may be mentioned that whenever we think of Nagaland in terms of commodities as tourists, the only image that comes to our minds is that of the Naga shawls,the Naga attire or the Hornbill Festival for that matter. However, a small, intricate item that are handy, attractive, easy to carry and which captures the essence of the place and are worth gifting is hard to find. And to bridge this gap and make people aware of the basic Naga essence, Kagholi decided to use her passion for the purpose of keeping the Naga tradition alive in the most accessible and decorative form- be it figurines, fridge magnets, wall hangings or anything else, every commodity has a touch of the Naga spirit in them.

It may be said that this is the first ever initiative of its kind, especially in the state whereby anybody has tried to minutely present and keep alive their traditions through this form. And she goes on to mention that this is a manifestation of her deeply rooted Naga tradition which she decided to put them in the form of material things.

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The products of Little Miracles range from fridge magnets, wall hangs and other decorative pieces.

It was only in the month of February 2016 that she founded the idea of Little Miracles and in less than a year, her works have been able to not only grab our attention but also the attention of many in other parts of the region.

Kagholi goes on to say, “I would be more than happy to teach this art to anybody who wishes to learn. Moreover, any kind of help to expand this start up in any form is always welcome. As of now, I am steadily trying to cope up with a lot of orders that are coming my way. I have not actually tried to venture out into the online marketing sector or any large scale marketing strategies as I am the only person who is engaged in this right now.”

As of now, Little Miracles showcases some of its finest products through its facebook page and had also recently opened up an Instagram page.

Kagholi, despite the fact that her products are gaining wide recognition and acceptability rues the fact that nobody has ever come to her to learn the art or to atleast lend a helping hand. Everybody admires her works but it is sad to note that nobody wishes to get into the groove which ofcourse requires hardwork due to its fine detailing. “Everybody appreciates my work in awe but nobody says, ‘let me try making one’. This has not yet happend so far”, she says with a smile.

Kagholi is an artistic lady and uses her travelling experiences to depict through her works. Nagaland as a whole greatly inspires her and basic characteristics of the place like the Hornbill, the Mithun, the huntsmen and the likes are what she incorporates into her work.

“Whatever I see, I recall and work accordingly. Every little thing relating to Nagaland is tried to be put into a compressed picture and as of now, I do not intend to go into any other thing because for me when I am talking about gifts, I would like for people who come to Nagaland to take something back with them about the Nagas”, she proudly says.

A fashion designer by profession, Kagholi had completed her fashion designing from Mumbai. She was also an intern with Gladrags Magazine and worked under Maureen Wadia,  a former air hostess, who heads Gladrags magazine and is one of the forces behind the Mrs. India beauty pageant. Kagholi took care of the content of Gladrags Magazine under the mentorship of Maureen Wadia for a short time.This was way back in the year 1988-89.

Kagholi says, ” I worked with Madam Maureen for a short while after which I decided to return to Nagaland mainly because in the 1980s, fashion designing as a career was not as popular and lucrative as it is now hence I left Mumbai for Nagaland.For many people back then, fashion designing was equal to tailoring. However, now, as I witness the fashion scene not only in India but abroad, I have second thoughts about my decision”, she laughs away.

“Later, I got married and started a family but the call of my passion never died down even after thirteen years of me leaving my job and returning back to my hometown and hence, I decided to  start doing what I loved most and ‘Little Miracles’ came into being”, she says.Little Miracles came about with a thought that everything around us given by God is a miracle provided we look at them like that.

While people wait for big miracles to happen, little miracles happen every day and Kagholi is creating one- At 55, Kagholi Chishi has a passion that drives her to work single handedly. She is truly an inspiration to youngsters proving that its never too late to do what you love doing. So spread the word; let the world know about our deep-rooted cultural traditions.

Follow her facebook page here:  LITTLE MIRACLES

– Shweta Raj Kanwar

(shweta@thenortheasttoday.com)