In the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, a unique tradition thrives within the Muslim community, defying religious boundaries. In the village of Bada Sumera Murgiya Chak, located in the Kudhani block, 25 to 30 Muslim families have upheld the art of flute-making for generations. Traditionally associated with Hindu culture and the celebration of Janmashtami (Krishna Janmashtami), this art has become an integral part of the villagers’ lives.
Flutes, the musical instruments famously associated with Lord Krishna, are in high demand during Janmashtami, and the Muslim artisans in this village eagerly cater to this demand. For them, flute making is not just a craft; it’s their sole source of livelihood, passed down through at least four generations.
The artisans in Bada Sumera Murgiya Chak exclusively use reed wood for crafting their flutes, leading to a unique local practice of cultivating this specific crop. Noor Mohammad, another skilled artisan, mentions that the reed wood undergoes a meticulous process of peeling and drying before it is transformed into melodic instruments. Typically, a family produces over 100 flutes per day, with prices ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 300.
While the tradition of flute making has persevered, the villagers expressed concerns about the declining cultivation of reed plants. Despite this challenge, they remain committed to preserving their heritage and continue to use reed wood instead of alternative materials.
These artisans now seek government support to expand their craft. They believe that with assistance, they can continue preserving this unique art form and scale up their business. The Muslim community’s dedication to this age-old tradition demonstrates the power of culture and craftsmanship in transcending religious and regional boundaries, creating a harmonious blend of tradition and livelihood in a remote corner of Bihar.
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