Independence Day: Brands and personalities who have had a positive social impact

AArushi Sakhuja
India completed 75 years of independence this year, and the country has seen immense growth since 1947. On the occasion of India’s 75th Independence Day Luxebook throws light on Indian personalities and brands who have made a difference in the nation.
Lavina Baldota
Lavina Baldota
Photo Courtesy: Lavina Baldota
Lavina Baldota has had a keen desire for Indian textiles, craftsmanship, the continuum of Indian Heritage and ecological preservation. A curator, textiles revivalist, crafts crusader, educationist and conservationist she is a cherished patron and mentor to the arts. In 2018-2019, Lavina presented the first of Santati exhibitions titled Santati Mahatma Gandhi: Then Now Next, and marked the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, paying homage to his progressive views on sustainability and circular industries through textiles, fashion and design. This year, to celebrate 75 years of Indian Independence Lavina’s Sutr Santati exhibition at the National Museum New Delhi will bring to light India’s pride. The exhibit will feature over 100 traditional Indian textiles that highlight the diverse interpretations of the beautiful textile craftsmanship of India.  “Gandhiji chose textiles to resurrect the Indian pride. Taking our textile artforms forward can play a vital role in solving socio-economic issues by helping to create a circular economy on a national level, ” she said.
Ashish Rajpal
iDiscoveri
Photo Courtesy: iDiscoveri
Transforming the form of education in India was Ashish Rajpal, Chief Executive iDiscoveri Education. In 2001, he teamed up with some of his XLRI Jamshedpur batchmates to start iDiscoveri Education Pvt. Ltd. Today IDiscoveri, has a highly-qualified team of 300 education professionals and has grown into India’s most progressive 21st century K-12 schools reform and development company providing a wide range of services including content, curriculum-based teacher training, institutional and leadership development advice to 850 schools with an aggregate enrolment of 400,000 children and 25,000 teachers.
Jaipur Rugs
Jaipur Rugs Foundation
Photo Courtesy: Jaipur Rugs Foundation
Founded in 1978 by NK Chaudhary, Jaipur Rugs revolutionized the carpet industry by creating an entirely new business model – working directly with artisans and empowering them and their communities with a sustainable livelihood. Today, the brand has gone the extra mile by introducing the Jaipur Rugs Foundation which focuses on Entrepreneurship Development that combines skills with leadership to raise the quality of design and weaving skills and empowerment through leadership training. It even has a special focus on social development that focuses on each individual’s overall well-being and the foundation conducts literacy programs, healthcare and financial inclusion camps for the entire village community.
DATA Resort – Indian army 
D.A.T.A. Resort
Photo Courtesy: D.A.T.A. Resort
In the hospitality industry, there are just a few places that truly promote Indian culture and heritage. One such luxury camp is in Lonavala. DATA (Della Adventure Training Academy) Resort. DATA is an experiential getaway that combines luxurious amenities with military-based activities in a safe and controlled environment. Celebrate the real heroes of our country, and bring out the inner patriot in you as you get a glimpse of what the military force training in India. Take part in obstacle courses and mind-body coordination to self-defence techniques and mental conditioning, from seasoned veterans, led by Lt.General Raymond Noronha (Retd.) who was the Chief of Staff Southern Command from The Indian Army. Each program here has been designed to ignite a sense of patriotism and passion for India. The property also houses Salaam Manekshaw, a military-themed restaurant and The Gurkha Lounge — a tribute to the fierce Gurkha infantry regiment.
Saahra by Saachi Bahl 
Saahra
Photo Courtesy: Saahra
Saahra by Saachi Bahl promotes the idea of being a conscious consumer. Being one of India’s first multi-designer for conscious fashion and lifestyle, the brand celebrates sustainability by promoting homegrown ethical in labels. The advocacy portal, #ConsciousEffort, is an annual initiative featuring some of the most eminent industry leaders of South Asia with the mission to educate, engage and empower people about circular fashion.
House of Anita Dongre 
House of Anita Dongre
Photo Courtesy: House of Anita Dongre
Another well-known fashion house that aims to empower women artisans is the House of Anita Dongre. The women in Anita Dongre’s family were mostly restricted to being wives and mothers. None of them worked jobs or started their own ventures. Today, the brand employs over 2,700 people directly and thousands more indirectly, including artisans in rural villages across India.
Dongre has long worked with groups of rural women on skills development projects and also launched an initiative with the UN Women and X-Billion Skills Lab. to help women gain skills to establish careers for themselves. The initiative provides training to women from lower-income communities across Maharashtra and aims to reach over 1,000 women in the coming year. Focusing on holistic development, the training will focus on will include emotional intelligence, creative thinking, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving, Trainees will also be mentored and take part in remote internships.
Aditya Arya
Museo Camera Gurugram
Photo Courtesy: Museo Camera Gurugram
Bringing to India the first-ever camera museum is well-known photographer, Aditya Arya. Director of Museo Camera Museum in Gurugram, he has been completely immersed in the subject and practice of photographic conservation. Over the years Arya has honed his skills and knowledge in preservation, restoration and archiving and has played a pivotal role in the establishment of the India Photo Archive Foundation and the Neel Dongre Awards/Grants for Excellence in Photography.
Recently he opened his photography archive and Museo Camera – the only Photography and Camera Museum in India. With more than 3000 rare and iconic cameras and other equipment, this museum traces the history of photography from the 1870s to the Digital Era. Aditya has also turned alchemist and artist, practising and teaching the art of vintage photographic processes such as salt prints, egg albumen prints, gum bichromate and wet plate photography.
Pamela and Anil Malhotra
Pamela and Anil Malhotra
Photo Courtesy: SAI Sanctuary
The owner of India’s first ever wildlife sanctuary, Pamela and Anil Malhotra are the ones behind converting barren land into 300 acres of a man-made wildlife sanctuary in India, SAI (Save Animals Initiative) Sanctuary, Kodagu, Karnataka. In 1991, the couple bought 300 acres of denuded coffee and cardamom plantations in southern Kodagu, in Karnataka, and turned it into a wildlife sanctuary, which uses green energy systems (solar panels and windmills) and has eco-friendly buildings.  While Anil passed away early last year, the private sanctuary today spreads across 300 acres in Theralu Village near the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and is home to 24 species of mammals, including elephants, tigers, leopards, dhole (Indian wild dog), various types of deer, the giant Malabar squirrel, the Nilgiri marten and river otters. There are 105 species of birds, 50 species of snakes—including king cobras, vipers and kraits—102 species of butterflies, and 46 varieties of native trees.
Sindhutai Sapkal Sindhutai
Sindhutai Sapkal Sindhutai
Photo Courtesy: Sindhutai Sapkal
Sindhutai Sapkal Sindhutai had to face the wrath of a wrong marriage and soon after coming face to face with poverty and hundreds of orphaned children, she decided to adopt them all and give them a fair chance at life. Today, most of her children are successful in life and Sindhutai is hailed as the ‘Mother of Orphans’. She has devoted her entire life to orphans and is fondly called ‘Mai’ (mother). As of today, she has a grand family of 207 sons-in-law, and 36 daughters-in-law. She still continues to fight for the next meal for her children.
She has been honoured with more than 750 awards for her dedication and work and the award money was used to buy land to make a home for her orphan children. Mai ensures her children receive a good standard of living, food, clothing, shelter, education and rehabilitation.
Tara Singh Vachani
Tara Singh Vachani
Photo Courtesy: Antara Senior Care
Tara Singh Vachani is the Executive Chairperson of Antara Senior Living and Vice Chairperson of Max India Limited. As the founder of Antara (a community for the elderly in Dehradun), her vision was to give a new dimension to the Senior Care space in India and focus on improving the lives of seniors. Antara Senior Living is the first Indian venture to create vibrant residential communities that offer a lifestyle with life care. Further, she currently chairs the Teach for India’s Delhi Regional Board and is a member of the National Board, as well. Tara is a part of the Governing and Advisory councils of the Vedica Scholars Programme for Women, an alternative MBA programme that aims to empower women through career-led financial independence.
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