Purushwadi’s Tukaram Baramate is a multi-talented man. He farms his own patch of land of course. He is also an artist- many boards in the village, charts in the school, painting houses and temples – he does it all.
But there is another special skill he possesses- he makes hats out of a wild grass called ‘Kaandal’.
He learnt to weave things out of this grass as one of those fun things to do, as a child. Till now, he only made them for the kids to wear and play with. For the first time now, at the Shiswad Festival, he is going to put them up for sale. Other than hats, he also makes baskets to keep vegetables at home, flower vases, beautiful models of temples and many other things.
Most people around here find it hard to believe that even things made out of grass can fetch a good price outside. So, he decided to participate in this festival and prove it.
His wife – Vanita Baramate helps him with cutting the grass, cleaning it and making it into even sized sticks. Tukaram fits in hat-making in his busy day- in the evenings after he gets back from work and early mornings before leaving for work.
This is time consuming and meticulous work. It takes one whole day to clean the grass, make the sticks and weave a single hat. His little children and nephew have also now started helping me in making the hats. But it will be upto them what they do in the future. “Who listens to their parents nowadays?”, quips Vanita smiling.
Purushwadi is one of the tiny tribal villages in the Akole Taluka, Maharashtra where WOTR is implementing its Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) programme. One of the foci of the CCA programme is strengthening local markets and diversifying local livelihoods. This is one such story of experiences from the ground…