Charaka Women’s Multipurpose Cooperative Society
We have been patrons of the Desi Apparel Stores at South End Circle in Bangalore, where we have been getting our handloom jubbas (kurtas) and other ready-to-wear cotton and handloom garments at very reasonable prices. We came to know that the main production unit for Desi is a rural women's cooperative society called Charaka, based in the village of Heggodu in Shivamogga district of Karnataka. Charaka, we were told, was an initiative of the Kannada playwright and author Prasanna. The question of what makes successful cooperatives tick had always intrigued us and also wanting to know more about the jubbas that we liked wearing, we gathered information about Charaka and reached Heggodu for the first time in April 2009.
The first impression of Charaka was very soothing to our jaded, urban eyes. Rustic, red mud and brick structures with artistic drawing on panels (which we later came to know was a folk-art called hase-kale), all around a huge banyan tree with chirpy young women ambling purposefully across the place. Since that day, we have been visiting Charaka often, and we have been drawn to the spirit of Charaka and the lively women who own and run that Institution.