Crafting as Tribal Livelihood

Crafting as Tribal Livelihood: A Study on Bamboo Craftsman of Angara Block, Jharkhand

Mangat Ram Nureti

India has the largest concentration of tribal population in the world. The tribal are the children of nature and their lifestyle is conditioned by the eco-system. India due to its diverse ecosystems has a wide variety of tribal population. The tribal handicrafts are specialized skills which are passed on from one generation to another and these handicrafts are means of livelihood of the artisans. However, in absence of any organized activity in this sector and the products not being adequately remunerative, there is a possible likelihood of the artisans taking up alternate livelihood options (which may involve migration as well). In such a case this age-old activity will die its own death. At this stage it is very imperative to understand the problems faced by this sector and suggest the strategies for development of tribal handicraft based on which certain policy level interventions need to be taken by the government to sustain the traditional tribal handicrafts. This project finds out different problems associated with Mahali craftsmen engaged in producing bamboo handicrafts in the Kuchu village of Jharkhand. The main objective of the study is to assess the bamboo craft as livelihood options for the Mahali tribal community of Kuchu village, Angara, Jharkhand.  Mahali has a distinguished craft heritage. Their rare artistic skill has been streamlined in the manufacture of exquisite household pieces.  However, the artisan community faces a number of problems and need intervention to improve their quality of life. The study highlights that the community of the studied village suffers from the supply of raw materials, profitable marketing opportunity, proper skills and awareness related to product development. This project, through primary research also finds out other structural and functional problems associated with the community and suggests solutions which can be extrapolated for different artisan community.

Key Words: Mahali, Bamboo crafts, Livelihood, Angara, Jharkhand.