SIKKI GRASS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     5th January 2024        

Context: Sikki artisans suffer livelihood losses amid climate change and failed promise of government in providing financial help in setting up of Sikki stalls in countrywide trade fairs held round the year.

Sikki Grass

  • Classification: Sikki grass, a member of the zizanoides grass family, is scientifically identified as Chrysopogon zizanioides.
  • Golden Grass: Locally known as 'Kaincha,' this reed grass exhibits a rich yellowish hue and is referred to as Golden Grass, showcasing a golden luster upon drying.
  • Origin: Found in the Tarai regions of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Sikki grass has historical mentions in ancient Sanskrit texts like the Ramayana, where it is called viran, sugandhimool, ushir, and nalad.
  • Characteristics: Indigenous to the Tarai regions, Sikki grass typically attains an average height of 3-4 feet, with its stem and roots serving distinct purposes.
  • Utilization of Stem and Roots: While the stem is utilized in crafting artifacts, the roots are extracted for oil used in both perfumery and medicinal applications. 
  • Geographical Identification: Sikki grass received a geographical identification tag in 2018, acknowledging its regional significance.

Applications of Sikki Grass

  • Sikki grass is renowned for its handicraft applications, serving as a livelihood source for many over the ages.
  • It is employed in crafting multipurpose baskets, ornaments, showpieces, and various utility items highly valued in rural India.

Challenges Faced by Sikki Craftsmen

  • Climate Change Impact: Sikki craftsmen are currently grappling with the adverse effects of climate change, impacting the grass's quality.
  • Temperature-Induced Quality Decline: The continuous rise in temperature adversely affects the softness of Sikki, making the grass brittle and unsuitable for efficient artifact creation.
  • Processing Limitations: The deteriorating quality necessitates extra processing time for brittle Sikki grass, posing challenges in crafting baskets and other artifacts.