In Amta town, along the Damodar river, agriculture and fishing are the main occupations. The women here also do piece-rate work on chiffon and georgette  sarees – they embellish them with small stones and turn plain sarees into works of art.

In many homes across rural West Bengal, women are engaged in this work; it gives them an income, a means of contributing to their family’s expenses, and a sense of independence.

The finished stone-studded sarees cost upwards of Rs. 2,000 in the shops of West Bengal, but the women get paid only a fraction of that amount—around Rs. 20 per saree.

PHOTO • Sinchita Maaji

Mousumi Patra, a piece-rate worker in Amta, decorates sarees using ornamental stones

This video and story were done as part of Sinchita Maji's 2015-16 PARI fellowship.

Sinchita Maji

Sinchita Maji is a Senior Video Editor at the People’s Archive of Rural India, and a freelance photographer and documentary filmmaker.

Other stories by Sinchita Maji
Text Editor : Sharmila Joshi

Sharmila Joshi is former Executive Editor, People's Archive of Rural India, and a writer and occasional teacher.

Other stories by Sharmila Joshi