Preparing the Bamboo Strips
The Jakhoi is an ingenious adaptation for a fishing trap developed by the locals. It is more like a wickerwork shovel made of bamboo and used to catch small fish, either by dragging it along or placing it on water.
Generally, fishes tend to hide between weeds; the Jakhoi with its net made of bamboo splits traps these fishes and brings them out of the water. Jakhoi is made of a species of bamboo called the Jati.
Jati is often tall, less prolific and used for handicraft items. The process of making the Jakhoi has been described with the aid of the video.
First, the bamboo is cut into a number of pieces. Then we will remove the green sheath of the bamboo to reveal the inner lighter yellow layer. After the bamboo strips are split the fibrous layer is removed. The strips will have a uniform size of 2mm width each.
Forming the Base or Toli
Now the bamboo strips are placed on the ground to form a base that is called the ‘Toli’ in the local language. New warps are added and woven in a criss-cross manner leaving small spaces in between. After the required length of the Toli, is achieved, the loose ends of the warps are interlocked to form the shape of the rhombus. We add new warps that are woven into the wefts as well as loose ends of the locked warps towards the end.
After completion of the Toli, the extra ends of the wefts are cut off. For obtaining the triangular shape of the Jakhoi the equality and symmetry of both sides of the curve are measured. Once the base acquires its required shape new warps and wefts are added to the loose ends and eventually tucked into the warp ends.
Here we shall take two alternative warps and two alternative loose ends and entwine them together. The loose end of the wefts is then bent and tucked into the weave. The same process is performed on all four sides. The extra ends are cut off.
Attaching the Bao
Just like a shovel needs to have a handle, in the Jakhoi two thick and sturdy bamboo strips act as a handle often called the Bao in the local language. The bamboo strips have to be processed before they are bent. For this purpose, we use the colocasia leaves. The leaves are tied at two points of the bamboo strips, leaving equal space at both ends and then burnt on the fire.
The moisture content in the leaves makes the bamboo points malleable and prevents the bamboo from breaking when the bending takes place. Here, we insert the shorter side of the Toli between them and tie them with thin cane strips. The two corners of the Toli will also be inserted between the bamboo strips by bending slowly and simultaneously tied together with a cane strip.
Attaching the Mekhela
Once the Jakhoi takes its shape, we introduce a net frame made of bamboo strips called ‘Mekhela’.
The Mekhela will be made by small bamboo strips bent at the centre. The bamboo strips are arranged on a flat surface together and tied with a thinner cane strip in a zigzag manner. Once the Mekhela takes its shape, we tie the net frame at the space left by the bending of the Toil.
The Mekhela generally acts as a kind of trap for the fish when the Jakhoi is dragged inside the water.
Forming the Frame
After completion of the Jakhoi thin bamboo strips will be tied to the sides of the Bao by cane strips. This frame adds strength to the ‘Jakoi’ and also gives the final touches to this fishing equipment. Once the Jakhoi is formed the extra ends of the Bao is cut off. Finally, a rope will be introduced the ends of which will be tied at either side of the Jakhoi.
The rope enables the fisherman to drag the Jakhoi inside shallow water and trap fish.