Darrang's vanishing bamboo basket makers

The traditional basket weavers of Na-mati village in Darrang district, are facing fierce competition from plastic sacks. The loss of livelihood is forcing many to migrate to other states in search of work

April 4, 2024 | Mahibul Hoque

Bastar’s bamboo-barrelled guns
, and • Bastar, Chhattisgarh

Bastar’s bamboo-barrelled guns

At the annual Goncha festival in Chhattisgarh, local Adivasi communities have a unique guard of honour

February 18, 2022 | Thamir Kashyap
Tshering: straight-arrow bow maker of Pakyong
• East Sikkim District, Sikkim

Tshering: straight-arrow bow maker of Pakyong

High-tech devices rule the archery market in Sikkim, but 83-year-old Tshering Dorjee Bhutia still makes bows and arrows the old-fashioned way, in a state whose archers have represented India in three Olympics

February 18, 2022 | Jigyasa Mishra

Ichalkaranji torans: gelatine, gods, greetings

At 70, Muralidhar Jawahire of Maharashtra’s Ichalkaranji town still painstakingly makes paper-bamboo torans – decorative door hangings – and retains a sense of pride in a craft no one wants to learn anymore

July 8, 2021 | Sanket Jain

Locked down in Telangana — a basket case

The Covid-19 lockdown has halted the basket trade in Telangana’s Kangal village. For now, basket makers of the Yerukuka ST community are relying on some agricultural work, and rice from the PDS and relief packages

May 13, 2020 | Harinath Rao Nagulavancha

Wilting mahua, wasted baskets, silent haats
, and • Dhamtari, Chhattisgarh

Wilting mahua, wasted baskets, silent haats

The Covid-19 lockdown has shredded the fragile economy of the Kamars, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group in Chhattisgarh, who depend on a trickle of income from weaving baskets and selling mahua flowers

April 15, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur

The bards of Nuapada and the goddess of grains

Although their craft tradition is waning and needs state support, the Debgurus in Odisha continue making idols and objects with paddy, and go from village to village reciting the Laxmi Purana

February 17, 2020 | Ipsita Ruchi

Baskets made with a different vision

Debahala Chakma of Rajivnagar in Mizoram, a visually impaired craftsman, has made intricate baskets for a living for 50 years using touch and memory, and says he can still make even a house of bamboo

July 25, 2019 | Lokesh Chakma

The last ringal weaver of Jaiti
• Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand

The last ringal weaver of Jaiti

Nain Ram Bajela, who makes bamboo products in rural Uttarakhand, says his work demands patience, like any art. But due to low returns and a lack of state support, his sons have moved on to other work

February 21, 2018 | Arpita Chakrabarty
Making baskets in English
Shreya Katyayini • Banka, Bihar

Making baskets in English

This Dalit hamlet in Bihar's Banka district is called English, and all the residents here have the same last name. Three generations ago, they gave up burning bodies and took up the more respectable occupation of making baskets

November 11, 2017 | Shreya Katyayini

The bamboo-splitters of Dhubri

Mainuddin Pramanik of Kuntir island on the Brahmaputra in Assam comes to Dhubri town every day to work as a bamboo-splitter. But the trade is in decline and few other options are available to daily wage workers

October 23, 2017 | Ratna Bharali Talukdar

The many baskets of Mako Lingi
and • Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

The many baskets of Mako Lingi

A basket weaver and an Idu Mishmi elder, Mako Lingi of Ahunli village in Arunachal Pradesh, remembers a time when barter was a part of life and basket-weaving was necessary for survival

October 11, 2017 | Sweta Daga

Bala’s baskets, brooms and blinds

Madurai-based P. R. Bala has been making bamboo products for 22 years. This centuries-old family occupation is demanding and barely profitable, but the personal rewards, he says, are worth the toil

October 6, 2017 | Dorairaj V.

'All migrants are like stray dogs'

Kamla and other Paharias of Bolangir, Odisha, struggle to be recognised as Adivasis and access their rights

July 13, 2016 | Purusottam Thakur

Make in India – with bamboos and leaves

Farmers, labourers and shepherds in rural Odisha wear delicately woven ‘rain hats’ while working. Made by Adivasis, they’re sold by small vendors, who carry them on bicycles across long distances

July 6, 2017 | P. Sainath

Biswas and the bamboos on his bike
• West Tripura, Tripura

Biswas and the bamboos on his bike

Kamla and other Paharias of Bolangir, Odisha, struggle to be recognised as Adivasis and access their rights

February 6, 2015 | P. Sainath

Visible Work, Invisible Women: and gathering their lives (panel 6)

This panel of P. Sainath’s curated, online photo exhibition, depicting rural women’s labour, shows how women use forest produce like grass and bamboo to make baskets, brooms and more

July 23, 2014 | P. Sainath