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Making panni broom
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Modes of Production

Brooms in Rajasthan are made by hand. Even professional broom-making is not a mechanised process; it involves using different parts of the human body ranging from the toe to the teeth.

Broom-making requires dexterity of fingers and swiftness in executing the process from start to finish. This speed and efficiency are directly related to the number of brooms a broom-maker can make within a day, which in turn affects his/her earning for the day.

Tools used to make panni grass brooms Sinna - a tool used in making brooms Filling mud into phul jhadu plastic handles
Suri-(knife) used to trim stalks of grass An old rubber tyre and rings made of date palm leaves Bamboo sticks
Killi a wooden spike Making the killi Splitting bamboo into sticks

Seemingly simple, the broom-making process has been honed and sharpened to near perfection over generations; yet, new methods and materials are also being developed. The use of slivers of discarded rubber tubes to tie brooms made of date-palm, demonstrates the creativity and responsiveness of broom-makers to the inexpensive materials available in their environment.

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Broom made of Khejur

In the traditional method of making a khejur (date-palm) broom, the leaf blades are first shredded and the thorns removed.

Then, individual leaf blades are separated, braided and plaited to create twine which is used to tie bunches of khejur leaves.

The twine is encircled around the toe of the broom-maker and pulled, so as to create tension in the tightening of the broom at the base.

Then, the twine is interwoven more intricately into the khejur leaves to create gajras (circles), which help to form the handle of the broom.

A ganda or loose string is encircled around the broom to serve as a means of support which can be shifted up and down.

The khejur leaves are then split with brushing movements against a nakkha, a comb-like tool containing sharp nails.

The ends of the broom are cut with a sharp knife. Click here to view images

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Some broom-makers have started using rubber tyre tubes to make thin strips with which the khejur leaves are tied together to form the handle of the broom. These tubes are bought in bulk and cut with blades that have been discarded from barber shops. The process of cutting the rubber is hazardous even as the broom-makers have developed dexterity and skill in their creation of raw materials. It takes about five minutes to make one broom.

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Broom made of Baans

The blades of bamboo are spliced with a knife into sharp splints, which are sorted and arranged.

The splints are rolled on the ground and separated in such a way that a bundle is formed. The quality of the splints is also assessed at this time and the good pieces are separated from the ones which cannot be used.

The splints are then held in a tight bundle and tied with an iron wire, which is rolled around the base of the broom.

A killi or pointed piece of wood is wedged into the base of the broom, thereby strengthening the handle.

The ends of the bamboo splints are cut evenly with a knife. Click here to view images

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Broom made of Munjh

This broom is made of munjh, which is the thin layer covering the stems of the panni grass.

After sorting and arranging the pieces of munjh, the broom-maker makes a bundle by stacking them together.

He then proceeds to tie a string around his toe and the sariya - an iron spike which is pierced into the ground.

In order to maximize the tension in tying the broom together at the base, the string is pulled away from the spike and cut with the broom-maker's teeth.

He then uses a mogri, a wooden mallet, to flatten the ends of the broom.

He brushes the leaves and cut their ends with a dantadi, a kind of sickle, in order to give the final shape to the broom. Click here to view images

 
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