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Broom-making Communities

No machines are used for making brooms in Rajasthan. They are as yet hand-made objects, exemplifying the endurance of pre-industrial labour in a steadily globalized India. While the women of rural Rajasthan shape their own brooms according to their own needs and the materials available, the professional broom-makers tend to be identified with specific materials.

The erstwhile nomadic Banjara community produces brooms made out of different grasses (panni); the migratory Koli community originally from south India and the Bagariya community
A Harijan making a panni broom

of Rajasthan use date-palm (khejur); and the Harijan community specializes in brooms made out of bamboo (baans). Each of these groups functions independently, with different social norms and customs.

Regardless of these differences, the broom-making communities can be said to constitute the most economically depressed sections of Indian society which continue to suffer the stigma of low caste degradation and untouchability.

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