Arunbhai B Patel
The Tribal population in Gujarat is mainly concentrated in the eight districts along the eastern border of the state. 96% live in the Dangs, Valsad, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Panchmahals, Sabarkantha and Banaskantha. The tribal region extends from Sabarkantha district through Panchmahals down to Surat, Valsad and the Dangs. About 92% of the scheduled tribes are from the rural areas.
The Kotwalias tribe of South Gujarat are generally a landless people who primarily depend on bamboo basket making for their livelihood. Their products include split bamboo mats(Palas), threshing trays(Topla) and baskets(Supra). Some Kotwalia communities still reside within forest areas while others have shifted to agricultural villages but maintain their traditional cottage industry. In the past, Kotwajia communities received low prices from contractors and middle men for their products. Efforts have been made to break this exploitative relationship by harvesting and supplying bamboo quotas to basket making communities and guaranteeing a market by buying back their products. The paper describes the traditional uses of bamboo by the Kotwalia
"Arrows and bows used for hunting are also prepared from bamboos. The bow is prepared after cutting the bamboo from the top. Instead of cotton string, a very thin [bamboo] strip is used, which is not only as flexible as cotton string, but is also stronger and tighter. If the arrow is prepared from bamboo, and the hunting part is affixed and is made up of steel, it is known as Bilkhi."