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Brooms at Arna Jharna Museum
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Types of Brooms
Brooms in Inner Spaces

Brooms used in indoor spaces tend to be made out of tender leaves and delicate fibres, including the flowering ends of the panni grass called sirki, and the thin stems of the daab, kaas and jeniya grasses, among other varieties.

These household brooms are generally used to sweep the floor of interiors, both in rural and urban spaces, which encompass a variety of materials - clay, cement, stone, and all plastered surfaces. Such brooms would rarely be used in the courtyard and never in the cow-shed.

As the variation of their names suggests - buari and havarni - household brooms are regarded as feminine. Often associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, such brooms are stored carefully and kept in safe places out of the reach of children. They are generally placed in a horizontal position under the cot, so as to avoid being brushed against or crossed over.

All kinds of rituals are associated with household brooms, which are made on specific days in the week. Brooms are never made on inauspicious days like Amavasya, the no-moon day. Some brooms are used for giving jhada in order to get rid of evil forces.

Panni grass growing on the edge of a field A pile of panni grass Panni Broom
Panni Grass Peeling the outer shield of a panni stalk
Brooms in Outer Spaces

Brooms are specially made for use in outer spaces, including mud or cow-dung plastered courtyards, cattle-sheds, the ground surrounding open shrines, and the cement or stone surfaces of streets and pavements in urban spaces.

Outdoor brooms are never used indoors. As the different variations of their names suggest-- bungra, buaro, buara, baro, khuaro, havarno and haveno - the gender of the broom used in outer spaces is invariably 'male'.

A wide variety of indigenous grasses and shrubs are used for the making of outdoor brooms, including the string used to bind the brooms together and form handles. More recently, villagers are using plastic and left-over rags and pieces of cloth to hold their handmade brooms together.

Other contemporary materials used by professional broom-makers include wire and strips of old rubber tyres, which are slit with used razor blades.

See more images of brooms with descriptions

Bhat woman making a broom of sinya grass A Bhat woman using a Sinya Broom
 
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