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Traditional bamboo hat continues to be favourite in Assam
by Apem

     Jorhat: Jappi, the traditional bamboo hat used by people in Assam to shield themselves from the sun, continues to sell like hot cakes despite a wide range of modern alternatives available in the market. It is made from Tocco leaves, cane and bamboo. According to reports, Jappis have been in use since the days when the great Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang came to Assam. These wide brimmed hats are a hot favourite with the farmers and tea garden workers to shade themselves from the harsh rays of the sun. Jappis are also gifted to guests and friends as a token of love. "Jappi has been in use since days of our forefathers. I want to preserve this tradition of making Jappi. Farmers specially use Jappi to protect themselves from sun and rain. We also give it as a gift to friends and guests," said Biren Kolita, an artisan. Despite the high demand for Jappis in the state, the production of these hats has come down enormously, with only a few households involved in the business now. And with rise in number of unemployed youth in the state, people feel that Jappi making could emerge as lucrative employment option for them, which will provide them with a livelihood, and also help preserve the traditional art. "Jappi is a very essential item specially for the farmers and tea garden labourers for protection from the wind and sun. But these days, the making and usage of Jappi is declining due to modern alternatives available. In earlier days, every Assamese household used to make Jappi, but these days most people don't know how to make Jappi. Many youths are unemployed in Assam. They should think of taking up Jappi making, which is easy and very profitable, and would be beneficial in enhancing their earnings," said Barun Gogoi, a resident. Jappis are mostly made during nighttime, and an artisan can easily make ten hats in a day. These hats are also affordable with their prices ranging from rupees 25 to rupees 40. Bamboo has been an integral part of life in Assam, and is one of the most commonly used material apart from cane. Bamboo is used widely by people in various areas ranging from making household equipments, to construction of houses, and also in making musical instruments.
-June 12, 2009

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