Baskets too weave a story

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GREEN CONTAINERS: Deen Bahadur Bind showing off his ware at the Chitrakala Parishath.
GREEN CONTAINERS: Deen Bahadur Bind showing off his ware at the Chitrakala Parishath.

Ranjani Govind

The Bhadohi weave works very well on grass containers also

BANGALORE: “Look at this basket, you can store even atta without any spillage; it’s called the Bhadohi weave,” Deen Bahadur Bind from Uttar Pradesh is passionately explaining to visitors about the goodness of natural grass at the Kala Madhyam Crafts Mela, which is part of the Airtel Bengaluru Habba at the Chitrakala Parishath.

The young craftsperson from the carpet city of Bhadohi can hold forth for hours, proving his weaving ancestry.

Mr. Bind is representing the family of the master carpet weaver, Ram Jeet Bind, featured in the Limca Book of Records for his masterly knots in the silk carpet.

“My grandpa had the former President A.P.J. Kalam’s portrait woven in silk and received a national award in 2001. It is his miniature two-and-a-half inch by three inch piece with 7,400 knots in Persian design that beat the existing entry, and is soon expected to enter the Guinness World Records,” he says, swelling with pride.

Same artistry

Why did he choose to weave with baskets instead of carpets for a profession? “I belong to Bhadohi, known for its carpet weaving and the city is equally known for its basket weaving as moonj or sarpat — the grass used — grows abundantly near water bodies. Weaving is a family profession and the artistry is what we wanted to preserve, even if it was a different medium,” he says.

When Jaya Jaitley of Dastkari Haat Samiti visited Bhadohi, she was struck by the baskets woven by the local women, which could be used to replace synthetic items mass produced in factories. The samiti worked for three weeks for the cause of the basket’s reinvention in 2004, conducting workshops to create basketry and remodel the basket-making for contemporary use. “Now our baskets reach foreign soil,” says Mr. Bind.

Short season

The sarpat grass is available for just three weeks after the monsoon and has to be harvested then and there. Naturally sun dried and then dyed, the special Bhadohi weave is sold as containers for soaps, hand towels, for cosmetics at shops and spas, and as bread and roti servers in restaurants.

Waste baskets, coasters, dining mats and wine bottle holders are aplenty too at Mr. Bind’s stall, available within the range of Rs. 150 to Rs. 450.

“I hope for a national recognition as our weave is extra special,” says Mr. Bind who is also pursuing his arts degree.




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