Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Fishing with bamboo products in Assamese society

There are various kinds of fishing contraptions prepared out of cane and bamboo in different parts of the state. A brief description of some of the fishing implements widely used like polo, Jakai, Khalai, Dori, Chepa, Paran, Jhuti, Hogra, etc. is given below:

Polo- It resembles the shape of a dome with short stem of about 6" diameter open at the top. The diameter at the bottom varies from 2 ft-3½ ft. and even upto 4 ft. and the height varies from 2 ft. to 3 ft. It is prepared out of small bamboo strips fastened with fine and flexible cane slips. Polo is used for fishing in shallow water. The man who uses it hold it by the side of the stem, presses its rim on the mud, then pulls it back and lifts above or up to the level of water and again presses it as before while moving on through water. Whenever any fish is caught, he puts his hand inside through the stem to catch hold of the fish; julki is a small polo prepared in the same fashion.

Jakai- The ‘jakai’ is a species of wicker work shovel that is either dragged along the bottom or placed on the water bed to catch the small fishes which take refuge in it when the weed is trampled. It is prepared with bamboo slips, which are locally known as ‘dai’. ‘Jati’ bamboo is specially used for making this particular implement.

Khalai - The ‘khalai’ is also prepared with bamboo strips. The strips required for the weft are very long, while those for the warp are short. The ‘khalai’ is woven in the shape of an earthen ‘kalasi’ or pitcher. This is used for temporary keeping of fishes during hand-net fishing.

Chepa- The Chepa is made of some prepared bamboo rods according to required size. These are woven in a roundish fashion with jute string or soft cane slips. A bamboo-made valve locally known as ‘par’ (Bengali) and ‘kal’ (Assamese) is fitted in the middle of the chepa to allow the fishes to enter inside with no scope for going out.

Dori- Fishermen in the rural areas of the state manufacture dories of various types. A ‘dori’ is generally rectangular. It is prepared out of small bamboo strips woven with flexible cane slips. A trap is fitted with a ‘dori’ in such a way that a bamboo-made screen is prolonged inwards from either side of the oval mouth and the pointed splints of the two sides interlock together.

Parans- These are various cages or basket traps made of bamboo splits used for catching fishes. There are two kinds of ‘parans’, namely (i) ‘uba paran’ (vertical cage) and (ii) ‘pora paran’ (horizontal cage). These are provided with one or two valves or trap doors through which fishes can be easily trapped.

All these implements mentioned above are generally used in catching fishes in shallow water. Apart from these contrivances, there are some other implements made of bamboo and cane and are used for catching fishes in deep waters. These are locally known as gui, jhuti, dingaru, thupa, hogra, etc.   

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