Artisan Family Stories

Raju PK & Gopalan family

The roads were narrow with alluring coffee plantations on either side. The place was Trikkaipetta. It is a paradise with greenery all around with the true smell of soil. The artisans of Trikkaipetta create marvels out of bamboo from generations. These can be used as show case items, key chains, flower vases and so on. Raju PK and Gopalan headed the crafts production

The leg of Gopalan is paralyzed and with this disability he was able to produce artifacts in a shorter period. The entire family was happy seeing our team in the hope that something exemplary will occur in their life. The roof of the house has so many holes, which is like bullets pierced the roof during a gun battle. They have explained about the process of modeling with an exuberant zeal. Their happiness lies on making these bamboo products. They have created many an unpolished designs because of their lack of money to buy polish. They are creating bamboo products from ages, with the skill inherited from their ancestors. But the agony in their eyes can be felt easily. They served us with black coffee and biscuits. The black coffee was sublime and oozing with typical Wayanad flavor. We shared some of the customized bamboo craft designs with them. We encouraged them by elucidating about the reach and demand of bamboo products in the market. We embolden them that in UTHHAN, artisans decide the product price and not by us. Moreover they are still clinging on to their tradition after all these setbacks.

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Biju & Family

Biju’s family at Mundad is in dire straits. Biju is deaf and dumb. The will power of this person is amazing. We can’t even think straight under pressure. But he is not only fighting out his life, but also created these models out of coconut shells. The tools used are very simple. We sat on a bench which can break at any time. The bench was the only luxurious furniture in that abode. We were able to understand his joy, when we compliment the quality of his products. Our driver has given biscuits left in our car to his kids, who were glad to accept the same. Their way of living arouse dejection in us. He goes for labor work to prop up his family. But his passion to create these artifact products is not extinct. His mother was gabbling unabated about his son's talent.

She is proud of him, so are we. We were unsure about the craft's durability, since the bondage of joints can be vulnerable. The strong joints and strength of the products brush aside all our suspicions. The products can be easily shipped without any damage. We have purchased some products, after enrolling them to UTHHAN. He apprised us in sign language that he can produce these crafts in bulk, if we give orders. The money earned out of these products can fulfill their basic needs. There was a ray of optimism in his gaze, which we want to nurture to save this dying tradition.

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Pushpavally & Group

The next stop was Mullankolli. A woman, who heads a self-Help unit, which makes artifacts out of grass welcomed us. A group of women suddenly assembled with their products made of grass. The products were flawless. It can only be made after hours of hard work, precision and concentration. These crafts can be used as fruit baskets, hats, flower vases etc . They testified that big establishments take their products in bulk, but the prices proffered are very low. But they still sell the products to lessen their miseries. The products are strenuous to make and the mastery passed on to them through their primogeniture. They don’t want to continue in this métier, since there is no real emolument. Workplace is nothing but a torn out house, where all the women gather and spend their time making these artifacts. They don’t have any idea about artisan craft board run by Government of Kerala. They told us that the tradition they follow can’t feed their family and it’s better to switch over to some other job.

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Raju MC & Family

Raju MC makes show crafts out of bamboo. The problem is same; there is no money to complete the polishing. He is doing daily labour to feed his family. When I have explained about our initiative there was a tint of hope for him. His wife and children were looking at us without any emotions. We can make out that they have suffered enough in their life because of poverty. The dilapidated house, with plastic covers serving the purpose of windows was a heart-break to watch.

Behind all these coffee plantations there are these tribal artisan families who lost their faith on their craft. The conditions of all these families are execrable, which makes me think about the efficiency of all those Government schemes declared . They deprived of all these privileges with no support from any one.

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