The 2015 Nepal earthquakes were a tragic series of natural disasters that we are all very much aware of. On 25th April 2015, the Gorkha earthquake killed more than 9,000 people and injured more than 23,000, making it the worst natural disaster to hit Nepal since 1934. Homes were devastated, communities ripped apart, villages flattened and families destroyed. But the devastation did not end there, severe aftershocks continued to occur for many weeks after, through to mid May, including the 12th May earthquake which killed and injured hundreds more. The earthquakes and aftershocks did not only have catastrophic effects on parts of Nepal, but also people from parts of India, China, Bangladesh and those climbing Mount Everest were also killed or injured.
Ian Snow has suppliers from all over the world, including Nepal, so it was a real shock to us when we discovered the saddening news about the April and May earthquakes. Many of our suppliers in Nepal have completely lost their homes, and we were devastated to hear that we tragically lost one of our closest suppliers, and dear friends; Amrita Craft. Ian says “It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of my good friend Yagya Gupta, in the Nepal Earthquake in April 2015, along with his wife and eldest son. I had seen him at the end of February in Kathmandu and enjoyed a cup of tea with him little knowing that this would be the last time that I would see him. He was a lovely man who had started his handicraft business in Kathmandu when he was at University. He is one of the pioneers that helped the Nepali Handicrafts develop over the past fewyears. He is sorely missed and I know it will still be hard to come to terms with his passing the next time I am in Nepal. I wish his youngest son Ananta great strength in carrying on his father’s work.”
Here is the story of Amrita Craft from Yagya’s youngest son Ananta, “My father, Yagya Narayan Gupta was born and raised in Kathmandu. His father migrated from a small village in India. Born on 9th September 1953, he was 61 when God took him away from us. My mother, Urmila Devi Gupta was born in Biratnagar, an eastern city in Nepal. She was born on 20th January 1961. The history of Amrita Craft began when my father was pursuing his Masters’ degree from Tribhuan University. He opened a small shop in Makhan Tole, Kathmandu. With much perseverance and hard work from my father and everyone associated with Amrita Craft family the company built a much bigger shop in Thamel along with a manufacturing facility in Gongabu. Over the years he transformed the company into a well known brand for handicrafts in Nepal. In his personal life my father was an extremely spiritual person. He had an extremely strong will to move forward in life despite any adversities. I remember him telling his friend that “Today if I was to lose everything, I will still start from zero”. That sentence is engraved in my mind and is helping me move on with whatever I have. Though 61 years were too short for a man like my father, he lived it to his fullest. He woke up every day at 4:30 AM and did his meditation and yoga from as long as I remember. He looked at life one day at a time and was always content with whatever he had. My mother was a very charming lady. She had an extremely contagious laughter, one that would light up the whole room. Like my father she too looked at life one day at a time. For me she would always stand as a definition of love. My brother was a very unique character. He was creative and involved with himself and found joy in little things. In a very short life of 31 years (born – 26 July 1983) he had seen and experienced quite of bit of this world. He had done his masters’ degree from USA and lived there for 2 years. We recently in February went to Germany together. I never took him as an elder as he was always my friend. A much more aggressive businessman, he identified himself always with the identity of Amrita Craft. Over 3 decades my family has created a family named Amrita Craft and as the creator has left us, it is both my duty and desire to take this Company forward. We’ll keep in touch and wish you all the best.”
Even though Ananta is continuing the family business, it has not been easy to continue producing products after the events which have destroyed not only his family, but also his home. Many of our other suppliers in Nepal have also struggled to continue working, as the factories they once worked in before are now completely destroyed, they are having to produce products in make-shift production spaces such as tents. Even after all they’ve been through, the workers are still managing to find a way to keep things as normal as they can, whilst making our goods. Our continuing support is with the suppliers and their families.
This week we have received some of our Nepalese products, including traditional felt which has been handmade by our suppliers in Nepal. You can shop these products online at www.iansnow.com
(Recycled silk purses available online at: www.iansnow.com/purses)
(Inspirational paper pouches available online at: www.iansnow.com/inspirationalpaperpouch)