Artistic Broom and Mat Making

Broom-making is an extremely relevant example of using specialised craft skills to create items of everyday use - of the merging of utilitarianism and craft technique and skill in the artisans' hands. Broom-makers from village Kamedh in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, like the family of Sharada Verma, have been making brooms - from the leaves of the khajur or date-palm tree (Phonenix dactylifera) - for over seven generations. These families of broom-makers, the Bargundas, belong to the Khajurvanshi community.

Their tradition - producing the very utilitarian 'broom', as a means of earning a livelihood - was not generally recognised as a 'craft'";" neither were the broom-makers seen as 'craftspersons'. However, the skill required to make brooms from date-palm leaves, as well as the fact that the broom-making families are diversifying and also producing a host of decorative items from the date-palm leaf has led, eventually, to them being recognised as craftspersons.