Behind " Phule Mandai " you will see lot of articles made from bamboo and cane, and men and women making them, working expertly, making these. They make ladders, baskets, lamp shades, flat and hollow round bowls, winnows ("soop in Marathi for removing husks from grains), sitting mats, etc. The makers of this utility and art objects are called “Buruds” in Marathi.
The area behind mandai and one near Ganesh Peth are called Burud Ali or Burud Galli. This market comprises of small houses of buruds. In front of their houses in open area these craftsmen make these articles deftly with amazing speed. Some of these people have come from Karnataka, and some from Ahmednagar, Satara, Aurangabad etc. These people speak, Marathi, Kannada and some mixed dialects.
However, in recent days, Bamboo is slowly being replaced by Rattan, the material from climbing vines, that isn’t hollow. Bamboo has more exposed surface to air being hollow, which makes it weather and degrade faster. Rattan on other hand is a solid stem like structure and hence less vulnerable to weathering. Also, Rattan being flatter, it can be woven easily.
This is making the age-old bamboo and cane crafting skills diminish with time.
To complicate things further, plastic has completely taken all form of bamboo use, be it in mats, baskets, etc. Low weight collapsible Aluminium ladders have taken place of unwieldy and heavy Bamboo ladders, threatening their existence.
However more enterprising people have made bamboo look more attractive by coating them lacquer, giving both shine and whether resistance. Newer craftsmen have added beautiful colours to their products, making them extremely attractive. Use of Bamboo in interiors of both residential and hotel like spaces, is considered ethnic, rustic and classy over steel and glass materials.
The Burud Ali where this activity is happening is there since long time, and bamboo craft in Pune dates back to the late seventeenth century. The Buruds have been important part of Bartering system in villages, for all the needs of farmers, shepherds, and house builders (Thatched roofs).
Legend has it, that these people made cane basket for goddess Parvati to carry flowers for 'Vat Pournima' pooja" and were blessed by her for their service, blessing them with this profession. Legends, folklores, barters, whatever you take, Buruds and their importance in society, whether urban or rural, remain noteworthy.
And Burud Ali makes an important piece in cultural mosaic of Pune.
Directions to Burud Ali :
Disclaimer : Photographs have not been taken by me. Copyrights lie with the original owners of the photographs.