Medha Tribe which masters in Weaving unique Bamboo Handicrafts are facing threat of extinction in Mysuru Region

(Representative Image) A tribal man holding a handmade umbrella walks behind his cattle, unseen, near Manikpur village, in Ganjam district, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneshwar, India, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011. The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is being marked across the world on Aug. 9. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout) VOA

MYSURU, Dec 09, 2016: Traditional artefacts are challenged with every scientific invention. They not only wipe out the product alone but also threaten the existence of those associated with it. The very recent example of this is Medha tribe which masters in weaving unique bamboo handicrafts like mats, baskets, handheld fans and others items which form a part of every home in the Mysuru region, are facing the threat of extinction.

Rehabilitation programs snatched their forest homes and also their handicraft business. These have forced them to switch on to other means of earning and therefore they have found an alternative way of earning like- the constructions or plantations as daily wage workers for their survival.

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The Karnataka Rajya Moola Adivasigala Rakshana Vedike state vice-president Ramanna said that after the Medha tribe was removed from their forest land, only 30% of them continued their traditional work and the rest became daily wage workers. Nearly 1.25 lakh members belong to this community and most of them live in Mysuru and Chamarajanagar districts forest areas.

He also said “With no access to bamboo from forests, the tribal community left their art and took up other work for their livelihood. While some who still live in the fringes of the forest continue their art, due to ban on cutting bamboo in the forest, they travel to Mandya and Madkeri to purchase it. While there is no profit in selling these items to tourists, they continue the tradition for the love of it,” mentioned TOI.

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The tribe, which lives in Hunsur, Koppa, Periyapattana in Mysuru district as well as, Mooguru, Naganahalli, Santhemaaralli, N Beguru in Chamarajanagar district and involved in traditional art work depended on private bamboo depots.

Ban on cutting wood has become a major hurdle to continue with their traditional job because prior permission of the government is required for such activities, although it is available in Bandipur and Nagarahole forest areas, says Mysuru DCF Karikalan.

Tribal Research Institute officer Prathibha says to TOI, recently the institute gave training to the tribal community to make new and trendy items from bamboo rather than their traditional designs. The new items will fetch them a good price in the market.

She also mentions, “apart from the Medha tribe, the Siddi and Koraga tribes make bamboo and cane items for their livelihood. As there is a shortage of bamboo, the government should take the initiative to provide bamboo available in the forest for the survival of this beautiful and unique art.” Finding no way out, people belonging to Medha tribes are slowly giving up on making bamboo items.

prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon