Imphal: Bamboo and cane products of northeast India are well known around the world and are highly praised for their intricate design. In Manipur too, the use of cane and bamboo craft is an integral part of their daily lifestyle.
Bamboo craft-making forms an essential part of the northeast Indian economy. The intricately designed bamboo crafts highlight the rich tradition of the region and over the years has received global appreciation.
In fact, the skillful hands of artisans can transform a dull, drab piece of bamboo or cane into an artistic masterpiece. Likewise, the state of Manipur is popular for its expertise in handicraft products.
Since time immemorial, people of Manipur have practiced cane and bamboo craft extensively, making various handicraft products of different designs and motifs for many purposes. There are many such dexterous craft makers who churn out amazing bamboo products.
Konsam Diban hailing from Khurai Kongpal Sajor Leikai is one such craftsman. “When I was a little younger, after seeing one of my friends work, I found it amazing and beautiful. So, I felt that I could do it too. And slowly I developed how to make it better,” said Diban.
Diban started his craftsmanship without any proper training. However, his craze and interest in crafts had somehow given a breakthrough in making Titanic ship and Eiffel Tower.
Another famous craft like Pakhangba is the supreme God, a man who can change his body to any form. Jesus, Mother Teresa, Kangla Gate, and other wood carving works add to its creativity.
“Creating crafts of Kangla Fort, Taj Mahal take a lot of time. However, Kangla fort takes more time as you need a lot of mini ads. It takes around 4-5 days to complete,” said Diban.
Many craft makers of the region are of the view that bamboo craft, which is an integral part of villagers, is diminishing gradually due to lack of preservation and patronage in the state and thus they want to fully focus on the craft.
“To make this craft I have to get up early as my work requires a lot of last-minute finishing touch. It is time-consuming which is one of the most challenging parts,” said Diban.
Though cane and bamboo craft was not considered a good profession a year back due to limited costumes, it has now been a thriving business in Manipur. It also acts as a catalyst in generating employment in the state.