Comilla-made Flutes Now Getting Exported
THE village of Srimaddi is only 1 ½ kilometers from Comilla district's Homna upazila. Over fifty families of this village are involved in the craft of making flutes and this has changed the way the village looks today. Most of these people are now self-sufficient just by making and selling flutes. About one crore worth of flutes are being exported from Srimaddi village every year.
If you take a trip around this village, you won't be able to see the dejected faces of unemployed youth anymore. Most of the homes here are two-storied. Most residents of the village are Hindu. Take a tour and you will see flutes of various designs, just left out on yards and on the streets. Women, men and children of all ages are involved with this craft. It's quite great to see the whole family hard at work. They usually have other things to do besides flute-making, but they work on their flutes at every chance.
Liton Chandra, a senior citizen of the village talked about the expansion of the flute-making in this village. He said that although he was very old, even he didn't really remember when this started. This trade goes generations back. Making a flute is pretty easy, he says. All over the country, flutes are normally made between the months of Falgun and Boishakh, but not here in Srimaddi. Here, flutes are made all year round.
Jatindra Biswas, another expert flute-maker of the region said that first they get the bamboo from Chittagong, Fatikchari, Sitakunda, Mirsarai. The bamboo is then put out in the sun for a finish. It is then heated up for holes to be made in it. The finished flute is painted and given individual character and is then sold. There are several types of flutes and they have their own names. There's “Mohon Bashi”, “Nagini Bashi”, “Mukh Bashi”, “Pakhi Bashi”, “Patla Bashi”, “Hridoy Bashi” and “Kanel Bashi” and more.
Every piece of “Mohon Bashi” sells for seven takas, every “Mukh Bashi” for six, “Nagini Bashi” for four and “Pakhi Bashi” for 3 taka. The cheapest variety is the “Kanel Bashi” which goes for just two takas. The price of the flute is dependent on the length, thickness and the quality of the work done on it. “Mukh Bashi”, played by blowing into one end and made for children, sell the most. Jatrindra has a wife, Rina Biswas who studied only up to class ten and then started learning the craft of making flutes. The two make and paint flutes and then export to various countries. They claim they have exported to Singapore, Britain, Japan, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the United States.
Throughout the year, flutes are sold to different fairs around the country and university campuses. The Boishakhi mela on Pahela Boishakh, the Srimaddi Kalibari fair, the rothmela, the Chittagong bolikhelar mela, the Oshtomisnaan are just some of the fairs in which these flutes are displayed and sold.
Flute artiste Abdul Khaleque said that back in the day 1,280 flutes could be bought for Tk 1500. These days, the price is Tk 2,300. The price of the materials used in coloring the flutes, such as coal and spirit have risen, but the price of flutes do not seem to have gone up proportionately. Flute-makers are appealing to the government for some help with their business.
The upazila Chairman said that everyone in the area was involved in flute-making in one way or another. Because most people have something to do, there is very little crime in the area.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008