Mahendra Deka is a master basket weaver from the district
of Berapeta in the state of Assam. These skills are traditionally transmitted
from father to son, although women also weave baskets in many parts of India.
Mr. Deka creates items of a functional and decorative nature such as baskets,
birds, tea trays and carts out of bamboo and cane, for which he won the National
Award of India.
The arts remain an intrinsic part of everyday life in India. Basket weaving,
ceramics, textiles, wood and metal work are part of the common currency of
domestic and ritual life.