Bastar, Bazaar, and Bunko Junko

A 56-year-old impact entrepreneur who started her work life earning Rs25 per day, Okhai, seven millet entrepreneurs, a frozen wonderland, and Bastar Se Bazaar Tak are all part of our newsletter this week

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
Bastar, Bazaar, and Bunko Junko

Bastar, Bazaar, and Bunko Junko

Dear Reader,

What’s common between tamarind, custard apple, jamun, papaya, elephant yam and ‘mahua’ flowers? One, they all grow in the forests of Bastar in Chhattisgarh. Two, they are harvested by tribal women who live in forests. And, three, they are processed into preservative-free pulp, slice, powder, puree, paste and cake before reaching urban households. Forest to fork!

The man behind it all is Satendrasingh Lilhare and his startup is aptly called Bastar Se Bazaar Tak, which is set to clock Rs1 crore in revenues this fiscal. My colleague Aruna spoke to Satendra, who shared about eating only once a day when he was in class 11. He and his mother were left with hardly any income after selling paddy to middlemen.

Today, he pays more than twice the market rate to tribal women who collect forest produce and sell it to the enterprise. He also provides employment to them, positively impacting 1,150 women in the area, where he has set up three food processing plants. Do read about Satendra’s journey from falling asleep in the class due to weakness to successful entrepreneurship. It is very inspiring. 

Our other story this week is from Gujarat. My colleague Anu wrote about Okhai, the lifestyle and clothing brand that has taken the work of over 25,000 rural women artisans around the world. What began as a trust in Okhamandal, Jamnagar, in 2008, is now a profitable social enterprise growing at 50% annually. The women earn around Rs20,000 per month, which has empowered them financially and socially. 

My colleague Bilal wrote about Bunko Junko, the ethical fashion brand started by Bhavini Parikh, who used to get Rs 25 per day after doing ornamentation work on 25 to 30 garments for an export house in the 1990s.

Today, Bunko Junko earns Rs 40 lakh in revenues by turning textile scrap into stylish clothing, home furnishings, and accessories. Since 2018, it has saved 38 tonnes of fabric from going to landfills, besides reducing carbon footprint and saving other natural resources. And yes, Bhavini was in her 50s when she launched Bunko Junko. Age is just a number, after all. 

With the rising international and national interest in millets, which are now considered the healthiest grains, we have put together a piece on seven entrepreneurs who are popularizing them and also making profits. So if millet entrepreneurship interests you, don’t miss this one.

Our Sunday story is about Drang, the frozen waterfall in Tangmarg near Gulmarg. It is nature’s beauty at its best. 

In the Money section, Karan has listed five top-performing retirement mutual funds that will make future planning easier given that jobs with retirement benefits like employee provident fund (EPF) and pensions are now vanishing in India.

Happy Reading!




Forest to fork: Chhattisgarh entrepreneur takes natural food products from forests to urban consumers, empowers tribal women


How Okhai handcrafted a success story with 25,000 rural women artisans and one e-commerce platform


From Rs 25 per day to Rs 40 lakh revenues, how Bhavini Parikh set up a sustainable fashion business using textile waste 


7 millet entrepreneurs changing India’s food habits profitably