Weaves woven by Boros in
Asagi and Baisagi were two sisters who were adept at weaving. If one sister depicted a scene of nature- hills, flowers, birds, "oh look at that flower", the other sister used to weave the same. These is how it is believed that motifs of Boro weaving tradition came to be. To this day, Boros are always close to nature and try to incorporate whatever they see as part of it.
Agor - flower design
Hajw - hill design
Kankrikola - a type of gourd "bhaat karela”
Parrow Megon - pigeon's eye - name of a flower
These are some of popular Boro weaving motifs. Any booti or phuta or flower motif has a common name, Agor.
I got an opportunity to work with Indigenous Boro or Bodo tribe, another variant of Kachari tribes of Assam. Bordering Meghalaya hill regions, Bodo tribe has become an interesting confluence of other communities, including Garo and traditional Ahoms. Hindu and Christian beliefs too walk parallel, and only become visible during the festival celebrations. The term Boro is believed to have been adapted from a Tibetan word that associated its meaning to “human” in general, but “man” in particular, lending this tribe its characteristic patriarchy. When women weave and earn their livelihood in a tight patriarchy system, it is more than just being an artisan. They are survivors. Retaining their cultural weaves in the midst of constant adaptations to changing society also deserves credit. It is for their resilience and strength that Bodo women are most famous. Second to that, is their weaving.
These days, many young Bodo women are compelled to leave their homes and find weaving jobs in neighbouring states. Local weavers demand way more money for their effort than Bodo weavers. They sometimes have to work for little money and poor living conditions. As soon as they get married, they are brought back home and they begin their life as a householder.
In the middle of chaotic fight for existence at many levels, including struggle for Bodoland, Bodo weavers with their resilience have kept the traditional loom going. I hope they continue going the traditional route instead of giving in to quicker alternatives of Jacquard looms. Their traditional garments, Dokhona and Bodo Aronai have already been compromised to Jacquard looms to some extent.