Parental love is the only love that signifies true selflessness. It is one of the greatest titles in this world. The adversity in this world is filtered through the strength of a parent, who endures all the pain and don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s financial hardships, the constraint of illness or lack of resources, their willingness to sacrifice is beyond imagination.
When life pushes them on the verge, they sometimes bend, but not Moirangthem Muktamani Devi. Not being able to buy her daughter shoes, she started knitting woolen footwear which turned her into a renowned artisan shoe business maker of Manipur. This ordinary woman who worked on her feet to raise her children, turned her incredible talent into a creative profession.
Life before motherhood
Muktamani was born in December 1958 and was raised by her widowed mother. She was only 17 when she got married to one of her classmates, Kshetrimayum Naran Singh. Together, they had four children. To support their children and meet their needs, Muktamani would work in the paddy field in the day and sell homemade eatables in the evening. Proficient in the art of knitting, she would make carry bags and hair bands at night and sell them to make extra money.
Twenty nine years ago, Muktamani was a homemaker in an underprivileged family who would work hard to keep the family together. Back in 1989, she didn’t have enough money to buy her daughter new shoes. It hit her hard, so she knitted one with woolen threads. However, her daughter was a little anxious and afraid, as such shoes weren’t allowed in the school.
But the unexpected reaction from her teacher surprised her. Her teacher asked where she bought them from as she wanted one pair for her kid, too. That was when the entrepreneur was born.
Her journey to the business making world
Mukta Shoes which was established in the year 1990 now exports handmade shoes to various foreign countries such as Australia, United Kingdom, Mexico, and even some African countries too. The company got famous in no time and got registered in District Industries Center under the wool embroidery section. It wasn’t an easy journey for Muktamani especially being a mother and owning a business at the same time.
She faced major roadblocks while raising funds for the business as she not one, not two, but three children who constantly needed her care and attention. Over the years, her determination pulled her out of the struggles and it was only a matter of time that her business expanded internationally, claiming awards and appreciation at each step of the way.
Muktamani has trained over 1,000 people. Her shoe factory, the Mukta Industry produces handcrafted shoes and sandals for men, women, and kids. The price ranges between Rs 200 to Rs 800. The shoes and sandals aren’t only famous in India but all over the world, exported to various international countries.
This year National Insurance collaborated with The Telegraph and hosted a ceremony called True Legends Awards 2018. The ceremony was accounted to honor 11 individuals who have changed society positively and their lives too. Muktamani is one of the awardees and said that she would dedicate this honor to the women who’ve been working with her through this journey.
“I would dedicate this award to women back home who have been working relentlessly along with me. In the beginning, I only knew how to make ends meet in my family, but today I am proud to bring in so many women like me to follow their dreams. My story of adversity gave birth to Mukta Shoes Industry,” she said to The Telegraph.
Apart from this, she has also received various awards such as Citi Group Micro Entrepreneurship Award in 2006, National Award, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in 2008, Manipur State Award to Master Craftsman in 2008-09 and even Vasundhara – NE Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2013-14.
Imagining the proud expression of Muktamani’s family, it’s evident that parenthood can be defined beyond hardships and struggle. We can define parents for their passion, their enthusiasm and the care they provide. It also proves that an act of endearment can change lives, inspire and give birth to a change, that’s the greatest gift any person can give.
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