Friday, 5 December 2014

A museum of brooms,Rajasthan,India - strange places 08


India's Aam Aadmi political part with its logo. blogs.cfr.org
More often than not we have come across museums of various sorts - museum of arts and history, of natural history and sciences, of automobiles and so on and so forth. Have you ever heard of or run into a museum of brooms with out which we can't keep our place clean and tidy? It is not good enough to deserve a museum. yes, there is one at Arna-Jharna, in Rajasthan, India presumably established in recognizition of this simple, household device's usefulness in our society since the dawn of civilization. 
The museum was founded by late Kamal Kothari, India's leading folklorist and oral historian.
Kept in the corner of a house after use away from visitor's mischievous eye, a broom is not an object of art, adoration and appreciation. Nor is it an important eathly stuff upon which one could compose songs and poems. An organization called ''Rupayan Sansthan'' started by late Kothari is taking care of this unique, museum. Initially, as one would expect, the public display of brooms drew carping criticism and even became a subject of gossip and mockery among the local people. When ''Aam Admi'' a new political party contested last election using broom as its election logo, popularity had begun creeping in displacing wild criticism and sharp remarks. The new political party's weird symbol - a simple, unassuming broom symbolises eradication of rampant nepotism and corruption in the government offices.

There are roughly 160 varities of broom on display in the museum. Taking the urban and rural surroundings into account, these brooms are designed for soft indoor floors (cement mosaic,marble,granite,etc) and rough outdoor floors ( cattle shed, court yard plastered with mud or cowdung ); the former reqire brooms with soft, tender fibre with flowering end such as 'panni grass' known as ''sirki'' and the thin soft end of 'daab kass' and 'jeriya grass', the latter require date-palm/palmyrah or coconut leafblades.
Indian woman with a broom. www.bigstockphoto.com
The communities involved in professional broom making are, unfortunately, economically backward and are living in poverty in a growing large economy like India. Some of them are nomadic and migratory. The Banjara community makes brooms from grasses (panni); Koli, and Bagariya communities of Rajasthan from date-palm (khejur); and the Dalit community makes brooms from bamboo (baans).
The nature and the materials of grooms reflect on the ecology of the place they come from. These are some myths associated with brooms. The indoor brooms should kept horizontally on floor preferably below the cot to invite fortune - ayeswaryam and ward off evil spirits. They are not kept near the pooja (prayer)room and safe vault where cash and jewellery are kept. Brooms are never made on inauspicious days - Ammavasai day - no moon-day.
In Tamil Nadu and else where in India if, people, seriously engaged in verbal fight, are driven to the extent of showing ''broom'' to others or mentioning it's name, it is a big insult resulting in both partys exchanging serious blows with one another!.

Ref:
http://www.arnajharna.org/English/Broom_Types_of_Brooms.

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