Rukmini Barua Deka
“This 100—ft. tall bamboo idol of Goddess Durga will enter the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest bamboo sculpture ever created. This will be the world’s tallest bamboo sculpture.Around 40 artisans did the work which began on August 1.5000 bamboo poles of various kinds have been used and the total expenditure for it is around Rs. 12 lakhs. The registration with the Guinness Book of World Records has already been done which is sending a team to Guwahati to examine the structure.We are in contact with the officials of the Limca Book of Records and two government officers have been appointed as adjudicators. A video record of the structure will be made for sending it to the authorities for recognition”,said Nuruddin Ahmed, the Guwahati based art director who is designing the structure.
It is the brainchild of Bishnupur Durga Puja committee, Guwahati which displays innovative ideas on Durga puja pandals every year. All those who are involved in creating it are confident that the idol will be declared as the tallest bamboo structure in the world. Ahmed has erected over 200 Durga puja pandals over the last 42 years. The first pandal that he erected was in 1975 at North Lakhimpur, Assam. Ahmed, who equally loves and respects all religions views his artwork as a service to humanity.He has never faced criticism from any angle for the work that he has been doing all these years.Ahmed has worked as an art director for scores of Assamese films.
“The Durga puja idol was hit and damaged by a severe storm on September 17. It was re-erected within just six days. At the time of finishing the number of workers doubled and even the local people of the area joined in to do it to complete the work. Most of the parts of the idol were made on the ground after which they were joined. The idol has been erected from the ground and provisions have been made to display Majuli’s mask art. The mask craft made of bamboo will be displayed in a platform that has been built adjacent to the Durga idol . Safety chains have been used on the sides to protect the structure. The bamboo idol will be kept for public viewing till October 12”, said Deep, son of Nuruddin Ahmed.
Bamboo, the Green gold is the largely recognised renewable resource of our nation which is the fastest growing woody plant in the world. North east India produces about66 percent of the bamboo resource of the country which covers an area of 3.10 millionhectares, housing over 89 species of bamboos. Being ecofriendly by far, bamboo plants release upto 35% more oxygen and absorbs more CO2 than other trees.Bamboo prevents soil erosion and new shoots grow after every harvest. Originally it was used to craft boats, houses, zeppelins and airplanes. Now, in modern times, the living rooms of houses are decorated with bamboo crafted furniture like sofa sets, armchairs,tables, chairs, bedstead and more. Bamboo shoot is used for making pickles, fish and meat curries, salads and other delicious cuisines even though it has a pungent flavour.Bamboo has medicinal properties too. It has the capacity to block the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Bamboo shoots have anti-inflammatory properties and are anti-oxidants.
The ubiquitous bamboo of the North east’s great forestlands has been crafted into a variety of utilitarian and decorative objects. The repertoire of the bamboo crafts includes items such as pots, bags, mats, light and lamp shades, baskets and storage vessels apart from the amazing range of fishing baskets, winnowing trays, musical instruments, bows, arrows and sometimes even headgear such as the jhapis worn by paddy growers of Assam.
Weave details, adornments and shapes and sizes vary from state to state, lending a piquant charm to even items of daily use.Some even smoke the bamboo, giving it a richer hue and greater durability. In Tripura, the dazzling ingenuity of this versatile craft can easily be discovered. The Debnath community makes some of the most exquisite mats woven from almost hair-thin slivers of bamboo. Majority of the people in Manipur are engaged in bamboo and cane craft. The Toktui Tereng, a musical instrument is entirely made of bamboo and the pachitam hadhukhopu, made of bamboo is an indegenous device for making fire.The different communities also make exquisite necklaces of bamboo fruit. In Nagaland, the different communities use bamboo root to create interesting ranges of decorative and utilitarian items. Across the entire North east region , we can discover a plethora of delightful bamboo and cane craft for purely decorative purposes.
A Bamboo Technology Park has been set up at Guwahati which is a company promoted by Assam Industrial Development CorporationLtd. (AIDC) and a few private enterprises. It has made a bamboo aluater project near Chaygaon, Kamrup, Assamat an investment of Rs. 62 crore. This has been funded by Government of India, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme. The main object of the project is to provide infrastructure facilities to bamboo entrepreneurs against payment of user charge. A sixty bigha area of land has already been developed with road, drainage, electricity and water facilities and a part of it will be leased out to entrepreneurs to set up theit bamboo based factories. A Common Facility Centre(CFC) has started functioning with modern equipment for producing many innovative bamboo products. An R&D facility and design centre will also be set up.There is a marketing centre with exhibition space and infrastructure for training. The CFC at BTP houses bamboo stick making facility, bamboo plastic composite making facility, strand woven bamboo block making unit, vacuum pressure treatmrnt plant, resin/glue plant, bamboo charcoal plant and administrative cum making centre.
The North East Bamboo Development Council(NEBDC)will be set up soon in this region to promote the bamboo sector in this region. It will be dedicatedly promoted by facilitating, coordinating and mobilizing efforts ained at promoting the sector. The think tank and knowledge providing body will help in policy making and advising. The NEBDC will be set up as a society under Societies Registration Act, 1860 and will have a high level governing body and an executive body with a professional managerial set up.NEBDC will enhance the growth of bamboo plantations and industries in the region and fulfil the requirements of all the states of the region in this sector.