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�Shital Paati� artisans facing tough times

By ANN Service

NILAMBAZAR, Dec 19 - The Kaliganj area of Karimganj district is famous for �Shital Paati� � the smooth and flexible mats made by plaiting an indigenous reed.

Thousands of people of Ratanpur, Rahimpur and Baleswar villages under Kaliganj area are associated with this traditional cottage industry. The artisans are known as �Paatikar�.

�Shital Paati� literally means �cool mat�. The mat are thin, smooth and pliable, and made by plaiting an indigenous reed � locally known as �Murtha�.

It is a long-stemmed, knotless reed that grows abundantly in marshy areas.

Shital Paati production is a household industry, where men traditionally collect reeds and prepare it for the mats, while the women weave them. It is quite a laborious process and involves several steps.

�Shital Paati� owes its name to the fact that it provides a cool surface to sit or sleep on. Hence, it is very popular in the hot and humid weather conditions of the North East, where it is mainly used in traditional households for sleeping or as prayer mats.

Though, a new range of products such as bags, cushions, pen stands and other similar items have been introduced in the market, modern technology has not yet touched this industry and there is a need for new designs to boost this indigenous craft.

It may be mentioned here that the artisans of Shital Paati have no any alternative source of income. The socio-economic condition of the artisans is not very good, and most of them do not know any other trade except this cottage industry.

Abul Hussain, a young artisan involved in making Shital Paati, said, �The literacy rate of our Paatikar community � residing in the Kaliganj villages of Baleswar, Ratanpur and Rahimpur � is a meagre 20 per cent. There is no high school in our area, and the State government is yet to take any positive step for uplifting our community.�

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�Shital Paati� artisans facing tough times

NILAMBAZAR, Dec 19 - The Kaliganj area of Karimganj district is famous for �Shital Paati� � the smooth and flexible mats made by plaiting an indigenous reed.

Thousands of people of Ratanpur, Rahimpur and Baleswar villages under Kaliganj area are associated with this traditional cottage industry. The artisans are known as �Paatikar�.

�Shital Paati� literally means �cool mat�. The mat are thin, smooth and pliable, and made by plaiting an indigenous reed � locally known as �Murtha�.

It is a long-stemmed, knotless reed that grows abundantly in marshy areas.

Shital Paati production is a household industry, where men traditionally collect reeds and prepare it for the mats, while the women weave them. It is quite a laborious process and involves several steps.

�Shital Paati� owes its name to the fact that it provides a cool surface to sit or sleep on. Hence, it is very popular in the hot and humid weather conditions of the North East, where it is mainly used in traditional households for sleeping or as prayer mats.

Though, a new range of products such as bags, cushions, pen stands and other similar items have been introduced in the market, modern technology has not yet touched this industry and there is a need for new designs to boost this indigenous craft.

It may be mentioned here that the artisans of Shital Paati have no any alternative source of income. The socio-economic condition of the artisans is not very good, and most of them do not know any other trade except this cottage industry.

Abul Hussain, a young artisan involved in making Shital Paati, said, �The literacy rate of our Paatikar community � residing in the Kaliganj villages of Baleswar, Ratanpur and Rahimpur � is a meagre 20 per cent. There is no high school in our area, and the State government is yet to take any positive step for uplifting our community.�