DIBRUGARH, June 4 � Tipomia is a little-known village near Rajgarh town in Tingkhong revenue circle of Dibrugarh district. The village has a largely Ahom population of around 55 families. Agriculture is the major source of income for these villagers. A majority of these families also own piggeries to augment their income. Lately, a few families have started growing tea as an additional means for livelihood.
Contrary to the fact that indigenous work culture barely attracts the modern Assamese youth today, two amateur but exceptionally skilled boys from this village are making a solemn bid to bring about a revolution in the craftsmanship practice in Assam.
Traditionally farmers, the amateur craftsmen � Bani Gogoi and Rubul Gogoi � have started crafting decorative items during their leisure hours. It was only a hobby for them then. Both the close friends in the neighbourhood would spend about two to three hours in trying their hands in producing snakes, crocodiles and other aquatic creatures out of bamboo and wood.
After four years of such leisurely work, the amateurs have produced handicraft items, which can undoubtedly be compared with the finest of artistic works of some of the contemporaries. Bani and Rubul together have crafted dinosaurs, chameleons, birds, fish, crabs, tortoises, ants, cockroaches, snakes, besides traditional items like bota, sorai, etc. They have also done a wooden portrait of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
The handicraft items of the two boys have the aesthetic appeal with its exquisite finishing. So far Bani and Rubul have confined their work to their homes in Tipomia, as they were hardly aware of the lucrative market for such artistic products made from bamboo, wood and cane.
�We were fascinated by pictures in the elementary textbooks. We looked at those pictures and tried to create them out of available resources like bamboo, wood and tree roots. Crafting thus became a hobby for us,� Bani Gogoi told The Assam Tribune. �We spent about three hours everyday after our agricultural works. Today, we have realised that these items have enormous demand in the market as office and household decorations,� he added.
The amateur craftsmen said they decided to adopt the crafting culture commercially only after they were exposed to the outside market by their friends Manoj Likson and Pranjal Lohar. Today, these boys are engaged in studying the market demand for handicraft items as also exploring the possibilities to begin their production commercially.
The two artisans have also been consulting the district industry and commerce office personnel here through Manoj and Pranjal for availing credit facilities for mass production of these handicraft items. �These guys have the talent like any other artisans, so why not help them out. We are confident of becoming economically independent once our plan materialises,� said Manoj.