Medas, a small tribal community who eke out a livelihood by selling articles created out of bamboo will have a smile on their faces during Gowri-Ganesha festival following good business.
It has become severe hardship for this tribal communities to earn for livelihood, as the availability of bamboo is dwindling with bamboo have gone dry in forests. It has become a cause of worrisome for the community to find bamboo and earn for their living. Some of the families who want to continue their tradition, are trying hard to get the bamboo from nearby estates in Kodagu and farmers land where bamboo are grown.
Already most of the community people have spread over for coolie works in urban areas, and younger generation are working in factories. Due to this fear has gripped among the community people that they could not even pass on the skill to next generation.
The present population of the community is around 2.5 lakh in State. They were living in forest from several centuries and were creating artifacts using bamboo. In the last few decades the community have moved out of forest and they say they are deprived economically, social and educationally. Community Leaders say they should be brought under LAMP Society (Large Adivasi Multi-Purpose Society), so that they get nutritious food, avail benefits of Yashaswini, to get loans, and improve economic conditions.
Speaking to Express, Medas Community Head Ramanna said: 'The government should encourage the last few remaining tribals to continue their skills by providing them with good marketing facility for bamboo products and measures should be taken to provide skill development training.'
A family of 60 from Nanjangud have spread in Agrahar Circle, creating bamboo mora say: 'Getting bamboo itself is a big challenge. We don't know any other job. For a matured bamboo we are paying Rs 400, and we have to pay extra for transportation. A decade ago we were purchasing bamboo for less than Rs 60. Its high time government should motivate farmers to grow bamboo in large, so that a community will survive.'
“Most of the money we earn in a year is only during the ganesha festival, with demand for handmade mora, which is used to give traditional bagina for married women and bamboo stems for erecting pendals goes up. We create mora and supply for Bengaluru, Ramanagar, Mandya, Chamarajanagar,” added Saraswathi.
75-year-old Thamaih a third generation engaged in Bamboo work said that Bamboo cultivation should be motivated among farmers, or else lakhs of people livelihood will be affected. There is demand for Bamboo products, with non availability of bamboo we are not able to met the demand and there is need of providing marketing linkage.
Karnataka Rajya Moola Adivasi Rakshana Vedike Secretary Vijaya Kumar said that State Tribal Research Institute should provide technical training for the community people, and provide them with jobs, so that the tradition of making handicraft from Bamboo will continue for next generation.