This former ULFA leader has now turned into an excellent bamboo crafts producer.
At a time, when the entire country was placed under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dwipen Khataniar, who was once a feared leader of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), took up production of bamboo crafts products.
Today, Khataniar is a highly revered bamboo artisan.
Khataniar, a resident of Pathsala in Bajali district of Assam, now makes himself busy by making decorative bamboo products at his home.
Dwipen Khatania had joined the ULFA in 1984 and surrendered way back in 1993.
After returning to the mainstream, he started a small business to earn his daily bread and butter.
Everything was going smooth for him until COVID-19 pandemic struck.
As lockdown was imposed, Khataniar incurred massive losses in his business.
Ultimately, he was forced to look for an alternate source of income.
It was during this period that when the idea of making bamboo products struck his mind and thus, the bamboo artisan was born!
From flower pots to idols of Lord Ganesha, the Tricolour to paintings of Mahatma Gandhi – Khataniar began to craft various products out of bamboo and soon he became a popular face in the area.
Today, he boasts of having a rich collection of art and crafts in his gallery that also includes portraits of several prominent leaders like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Dr Bhupen Hazarika, Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Speaking to the Northeast Now, Dwipen Khataniar said, “Northeast has huge reserves of bamboo and instead of plastic material, we should use bamboo products to beat plastic pollution.”
“If we work together, we can make Assam an advanced state by making our products popular outside the state. We need to produce what the people from outside the state demands,” he added.
Today, Khataniar is an inspiration for many. Instead of being heartbroken due to the loss of jobs owing to COVID-19, many youths today have been following Khataniar’s footsteps and are making full use of their arts and skills.
If as a rebel leader Khataniar was feared by people, now as the bamboo artisan he is loved and adored by the same people.
It may be mentioned here that the northeast has bamboo resources in abundance.
About 50 per cent of the bamboo species are grown in the Northeast.