Arunachal Pradesh: An Important Position among the Bamboo Bearing States

NeW Bureau

Arunachal Pradesh occupies an important position among the bamboo bearing states of India. It forms a major constituent of the forest vegetation where tropical, sub-tropical and temperate species are found well distributed in the State. In Arunachal Pradesh, which has about 46 bamboo species, the bamboo flora is seen up to an elevation of 2000m or even more. It has been noticed that the Poaceae and Arecaceae are the two main plant families, which have shaped the material culture of the people of Arunachal. Various species of bamboo belong to the family of Poaceae.

The bamboo craft of Arunachal Pradesh is highly diverse with the designs, styles and patterns varying from one tribe to another and every tribe excels in craftsmanship. The texture and shapes of the items made out of bamboo stand exemplary of the skill of the state itself.  Every tribe has its own customs and traditions and each uses bamboo to fulfill its everyday needs. Arunachal is known to use cane and bamboo to build houses and suspension bridges. Bamboo Groove is a must visit attraction in Ziro. This famous destination houses the one stem Monopodial Bamboo Plant or Phyllotachys Bamboosoides known by its scientific name, that belongs to one of the bamboo species and it is also called as a giant timber bamboo or a Japanese timber bamboo. The 500-feet-long suspension bridge over the Dibang River is the example of the brilliant engineering of the Adis.

The bamboo crafts of Arunachal Pradesh display an array of items that varies from baskets for storing and carrying paddy, fuel and water to vessels for preparing local liquor, rice plates, smoking pipes, trays, knives, flat haversack, winnowing fan, ladle, comb, bows and arrows, spears, armor, and implements like dibbles, hunting and fishing traps, headgear, mats, shoulder bags, religious paraphernalia, etc. ornaments made of fine strips of bamboo and grass are also popular. The craft is practiced mainly by the men folk who use their skills to transform simple utility items into visually appealing artistic masterpieces. Many tribesmen make their own hats, which are often extremely decorative, adorned with the beaks and feathers of birds or with tufts of hair dyed red. Moreover, the bamboo craft of Arunachal Pradesh include supremacy in making clothes, shawls and other dress materials.

The bamboo and craft of Arunachal Pradesh is very promising. It needs an appropriate direction so that people may follow this craft and develop the capacity to produce more and more of it by the utilization of their own imagination and traditions. However around 70-80 percent of bamboo resources in Arunachal Pradesh go waste and only five percent of bamboo resources of the state are used for paper production, while the other five percent goes in the manufacturing of furniture and other building materials. Thus the government has taken initiative to promote the bamboo craft of Arunachal Pradesh by establishing several centres and institutions to manufacture basketry as well as bamboo and cane craft as a whole on a commercial basis. Throughout, the twill and hexagonal, both open and closed techniques of basketry are followed.

To foster development and utilization of the bamboo resources, the Arunachal Pradesh Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NRL in October 10, 2015 for sourcing three lakh tonnes of bamboo per year from the frontier state for the Bio Refinery. This would enable cultivation of bamboo on a commercially sustainable basis and would boost rural economy of the state. It will offer a permanent source of revenue generation for bamboo farmers and communities owning vast bamboo groves in the state. The Government believes that the development of bamboo in Arunachal has to migrate from mission mode of research and resource generation to a board mode emphasizing that it is time to have an application approach.

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