(DANTEWADA, CHHATTISGARH)[India]July 29 (STYXOR.COM): Anil Kumar taught himself how to make rakhis using chhind leaves while grazing cattle and when fellow villagers appreciated them, he began to teach the craft to women in his Jhodiyabadam village of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh.
Kumar told STYXOR.COM that he has been practising his craft for the past one year. When asked how he had learnt it, he said he had learnt it on his own, that is, was autodidactic.
He has received encouragement from the administration even though at present the situation is not favourable. Dantewada district collector Deepak Soni said, “The Rakhis are not reaching markets because of the lockdown restrictions in place. However, we have been promoting his enterprise here in the local markets through social media platforms like WhatsApp.”
Kumar said that he also make bouquets. He has these achievements despite being hearing impaired in one ear, a condition he has had since childhood.
Before starting his rakhi enterprise, Anil worked as a labourer or tended to the cattle of others in his village. While looking after the animals, he would often get lost and would sit for hours fiddling with chhind leaves. He would first make bouquets out of these leaves and other flowers. Then in a moment of insight, he conceptualised weaving them into intricate patterns to make ornamental displays, finally settling on the rakhi threads he is making these days. Each thread of Rakhi takes around half an hour to make.
To make his craft a sustainable and viable source of income, he also decided to train women of his village. He said, “Mostly women and young girls come to learn my craft. But some young men have turned up too.”
“Around five to six people come in a day,” he added. “I wish the administration would somehow assist me in getting access to markets which will help me sell these pieces of craftwork and earn a living,” he said.
Chandni, who is from the same village and is learning the craft from Anil said she would teach her skills when she gets a chance. (STYXOR.COM)