Pune: Along with the high demand for makhars made from paper mache and corrugated boxes, bamboo makhars are also in huge demand now after the state-wide ban on plastic and thermocol. And the change is very much visible as Ganesh Chaturthi preparations across the city are in full swing and residents are literally hunting for environment-friendly and reasonable decor alternatives.
There are several craftsmen of bamboo at Burud Ali behind Mahatma Phule Mandai who earn the majority of their income during Ganesh and Navratri festival. Till last year, they earned comparatively less in Ganesh or Navratri festival, as thermocol was the king of decoratives and makhars. But this year, the scene has changed and they are getting ample orders from people across the city.
Janardhan More, President of Akhil Burud Samaj at Burud Ali, who is the oldest craftsman in the area, told Sakal Times that after the ban of thermocol makhars there was 50 per cent hike in demand for bamboo makhars.
More said, “Till last year the entire craftsmen community from Burud Ali used to sell less than 1,500 makhars during Ganesh festival but this year we have already sold more than 2,000 makhars and have to yet complete four to five thousand orders.”
Ananta More, another craftsman in Burud Ali, said, “We started making makhars a month ago and due to high demand we are working day and night making four to five makhars a day. We make it according to the demand from the customer. It can be of any size, shape or design. These makhars are also available in foldable structures.”
Janardhan said the bamboo comes from Konkan and they purchase from wholesalers or retailers from the city according to need. There are certain types of bamboos including chivli, Assam, marga, dhopile, mesi and kandali by which the art form can be made.
Deepak Pawar, another craftsman, said, “Around 10 years back when the demand for China-made flower decorations started in the city, the demand for bamboo makhars also started but the thermocol ban gave a boost for the high demand for bamboo makhars. There are several designs and shapes which we make including coconut, hut, house, brahma kamal, bullock cart, stands and others.”
Women of the community have started making makhars on the roadside. The women used to make bamboo makhars at home to help their father, brothers or husbands. But from a couple of years, these women have stepped outside their home and started making and selling the art works on the roadside along with their male companions.
Kishori Mohite, craftswoman of Burud Ali, said, “I am making bamboo makhars since I was 5 years old at home to help my father, but now it has been more than two years that I and other ladies have stepped outside our houses and started making makhars on the roadside along with our husbands or fathers.”
Rajashri Pawar, another craftswoman, said, “Along with male companions we are also making four to five bamboo makhars in a day which provides an extra helping hand for the earning member of our house. We are being taught from our childhood but we were not taught the way to sell or market the product. Now the changing society has led us to change our mindset as well.”