Historical Tradition and Socio-cultural Transformation of the Malakar Community in Rural Bengal, India

Kousik Das Malakar *

Department of Geography, School of Basic Sciences, Central University of Haryana, Mahendragarh-123031, India.

Supriya Roy

Department of Geography, Institute of Humanities & Social Sciences, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Handicraft plays a very important role in representing the culture and traditions of any community. Indian handicrafts are highly eco-friendly, labour intensive, unorganized household sector, with huge potential for employment generation and foreign exchange earnings and practised extensively in the rural areas. Based on this background and field observations, this study aims to investigate the historical tradition, society, and livelihood transformation of the Malakar community in rural Bengal. This study made use of data gathered through field interviews and phone calls in rural Bengal. And data were calculated in both quantitative and qualitative ways. Key findings show that sholapith is a culturally significant eco-friendly craft that is part of the Hindu Community's historical heritage. And it will be the future scope of huge uses of any ceremony’s decoration and it fulfils the lives, livelihood, and societal identity of the 'Malakar' community. Socio-economically, the maker of the craft was not suitably developed in the aspects of income and other social things. According to this study, the Malakar community's cultural identity has been transformed and will decline in the future due to the transformation of traditional livelihoods. So, the historical-cultural community of Malakar and their inherited cultural works need to be developed and brought to more people's attention.

Keywords: Eco-friendly traditional craft, historical identity, cultural tradition, livelihood transformation, society and culture, rural poverty

How to Cite

Malakar, Kousik Das, and Supriya Roy. 2022. “Historical Tradition and Socio-Cultural Transformation of the Malakar Community in Rural Bengal, India”. Asian Journal of Geographical Research 5 (4):14-24. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajgr/2022/v5i4167.


Download data is not yet available.


Mohi-ud-din T, Mir LA, Bhushan S. An analysis of current scenario and contribution of Handicrafts in Indian economy. Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development. 2014;5(9):75-78.


Jadhav S. Indian handicrafts: Growing or depleting. IOSR Journal of Business and Management. 2013;2(15):7-13.


Dey M. Managerial Challenges of Handicraft Industry: An Indian Perspective. International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research. 2018;37(1):195-200.


Dutta A. The Cultural Significance of Early Historic Terracotta Art of West Bengal: An Ethnoarchaeological Approach. A thesis submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute. 2013;16-18.

Vijayagopalan S. Economic status of handicraft artisans. National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi. 1993;38-55.


Hosfield RT. Modes of transmission and material culture patterns in craft skills. University of California Press, 2009;2:45-60. Available:http://centaur.reading.ac.uk/1738/1/Hosfield%202009_Final%20Submission.pdf

Sills LS. International encyclopaedia of the social sciences. The Macmillan Company: The Free Press, cop., New York. 1968;3.

ISBN: 0028952405.

Jain R, Sharma S. Perception of artisans on existing marketing strategy for the promotion of Indian Handicrafts. ZENITH International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research. 2015;5(10):166-176.


Punja S, Alkazi F, Jaitly J, Tyabji L, Mukherjee R, Tiwari J. Craft Traditions of India Past, Present, and Future. National Council of Educational Research and Training. 2011;1-20.

ISBN: 978-93-5007-139-7.

Hasan P. Crafts of Himachal Pradesh (Review). The Journal of Asian Studies. 2010;55(1):188-190.


Ghosh KA. Traditional Craft Practices in Transition-An Ethnographic Account on a West Bengal Village. Knowledge: A Multidisciplinary Journal. 2016;1(1):111-123.

Dhamija J. Living Tradition of India’s Craft. Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi; 1977.

ISBN: 978-0706907285.

Chatterjee B. Conditions of Sholapith Craftspeople in Rural Bengal. Sahapedia; 2018.


Ghosh K. Sholapith Craft of West Bengal: An Overview. International Journal of Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies. 2015;3(1):54-62.


Mandal RN, Bar R, Chattopadhyay DN. Shola, Aeschynomene aspera L. used for making indigenous handicrafts revealing traditional art needs conservation. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. 2014; 13(1):103-110.


ToI. Idol demand grows abroad. Times of India (News Paper);2008.

Retrieved 2019-05-04. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/idol-demand-grows-abroad/articleshow/3551285.cms

Ganai B. ‘Sholapith Craft’ of Murshidabad- Problems and Prospects of the Art and the Livelihood of the Artisans. International Journal of Research and Analytical Reviews. 2018;5(3):1888-1892.


Malakar KD. The Malakar Community and their hereditary livelihoods. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany; 2020a.

ISBN: 978-620-2-80217-8.

Carretero M, Berger S, Grever M. (Eds.). Palgrave handbook of research in historical culture and education. Palgrave Macmillan London; 2017.

ISBN: 978-1-137-52908-4.


Malakar KD. The Upper-Caste Community of Malakar. Justfiction Edition, Germany; 2020b.

ISBN: 978-620-0-49488-7.