Shantamma from Dindigul

We met this multi-faceted lady in a small hamlet near Dindigul, TN. Shantamma used to be a handloom sari weaver by profession and spent over 8 hours on the loom, everyday for over 30 years. 
Even in her childhood (she started weaving while she was still in school) she had a knack for weaving complicated designs that require a lot of effort and strength. She enjoyed challenging her male counterparts in this regard and she was entrusted to weave Sari designs that were traditionally woven by men. Diabetes has made it impossible for her to sit in one position for long hours and she is now retired from weaving. 
Weaving is not the only thing that interests her. She also has a deep passion for politics and thinks that those in power should use the opportunity to perform social service and help the community. She herself stood for panchayat elections in the late 90's and won the election. It was during her term as Panchayat head that a tar road was built to connect her hamlet to the highway leading to Dindigul. 
Another one of her accomplishments that she is really proud of , is helping fund the construction of the 'gopuram' or tower for the local temple. For many years the temple in her neighbourhood was without a gopuram. Shantamma and a few lady weavers from the village decided to do something about. Everyday, after they finished weaving, they would catch the bus to Dindigul town and walk from door to door collecting donations for construction of the gopuram. In 6 months, they had collected enough and their local temple now has a gopuram.