GOLAKGANJ, Jan 21 – If a place is identified better by its uniqueness that has made Dhubri district in Assam quite distinct from the rest 26 of its kinds is the craftsmanship of diverse tastes, styles and occupations. If groomed with right training and facilities, including market, the craftsmen of Dhubri can pose a serious threat to those who dominate the market in India by virtue of the sops they are getting from quarters concerned.
The district, situated in the western part of Assam, is famous for environment friendly jute craft. The raw material is available in plenty here. Jute products such as shopping bags, side bags, hand bags, money bags, sikkas, flower vase, carpet, dolnas, magazine holders, doormats and the like have many a takers for their durability.
Deben Roy, an ex- senior staff member of Dhubri handicraft office under the Commissioner of Handicraft and Textile department, New Delhi, said the crafts of Dhubri are quite distinct from those found elsewhere. The Craft Development Centre, Dhubri, is trying to upgrade the skill of the artisans through training, designing and use of improved tools, he said.
Wood carving is an also ancient craft that found expression mostly on doors, walls, ceilings of namghars and satras, he cited. The terracotta items that have a very good demand in the district and also outside Assam. Villages like Asharikandi, Kaldoba, Bilasipara and Balazan are famous. About 2,000 craftsmen produce Hatima mother with child, Hatima dolls, Hatima ‘pradipdani’, motorcycle with rides water filter, flower tub, horse, elephant among others. The raw materials required are clay sand, red clay and firewood and a ‘Bhalla’ shed during the rainy season. Adding to the weaving lores of Assam, the Rabha woman contribute with their colourful yet simple designs.
The ancient sholapith is another craft of Dhubri district. There are many references of this art in the Hindu sastras. It is practised by the Malakar community in Dhepdhepi, Uchita, Agomoni, Golakganj, Kaldoba, Satrassal, Zhapusabari in the Golakganj area, Gauripur among others. About 350 craftsmen produce Kali mask, Goda putul, Manasha putul and the like for puja purposes. Besides this, the Malakar community produces different designs of garlands, flowers, animals, fruits and others with sholapith that has a great demand in the local market.
Dotara is the main musical instrument of Goalpariya culture. It is an intrinsic part of Goalpariya lokageet, padda- puran (Manasha) geet and many other musical notes. This musical instrument is crafted with jackfruit (wood), nylon thread and gui (a kind of lizard) skin. Hand-block printing is one of the most favourite arts. However, only one unit is run by master craftswoman Shila Chakraborty at Gauripur. In the local market main demand is for sarees, bedsheets, door and window screens and a few other products like pillow cover, table cover, chair cover, TV cover.