Gifts for Gordon Brown: soaps, handicrafts, traditional medicines

By Prashant K. Nanda, IANS

New Delhi : A Ganesha idol, handicrafts from nine Indian states, traditional medicine prepared by village women and requests to enable them to visit London await British Prime Minister Gordon Brown when he arrives here on a two-day state visit Sunday.

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“I have never met the Indian prime minister but am going to meet Britain’s prime minister. I want to gift him some traditional medicine that we have prepared,” said an excited Archana Ratori, who has come from a village in Uttarakhand.

“We have other articles like tokri (wicker basket), amla and other traditional medicines to check indigestion. If he shows interest, then we will give them packets of each item,” Ratori, 26, told IANS.

Brown is scheduled to meet a group of village women from nine states, working under the banner of Mahila Samakhya Sammelan (Women’s Empowerment Event), at the International Youth Centre here.

Rita Patel, a woman from Gujarat, said: “We have many handicraft items that the British prime minister will see. I wish to gift him a Ganesha idol.”

Brown will interact with nearly 45 women from the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. Apart from seeing their work, displayed in four stalls, the British premier is scheduled to address them.

Shalge Hembram from Jharkhand has something else in mind as a gift for Brown. “My colleagues and I will give him natural soap. It is hand made and has medicinal value and I think he will like it,” she said, displaying the soap she intends to gift.

Kapila Ekka, also from Jharkhand, said she would request Brown to take some of them to London.

“We must interact with people in other parts of the world. I want to know how women in Britain are working for their own development. What kind of education they are getting during childhood. This type of exposure will help us a lot,” Ekka added.

Shanti Gohil, Madhu Lakra and Pushpa Rawat are among a host of other women who would like to shake hands with Brown. But ask them how they would greet him, and pat comes the reply – “Namaste”.

Kameshwari Jandhyala, a member of the National Resource Group of the Mahila Samakhya Sammelan, said they have assigned three members for each stall to translate the different regional languages into English for Brown.

“Most of the women cannot speak English and hence we have assigned three people for each stall to translate Brown’s queries into the local language and the women’s answers into English,” she said.