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Debu Murmu, Leaf ornaments
Address: Village : Sarpukurdanga
P.O : Khanjanpur

Debu Murmu is an extraordinarily gifted individual, well known for his knowledge of tribal medicine as well as his beautiful ornaments from natural fibre. 

Brought up in  his maternal uncle’s home, he dropped out of school after class 8 and spent most of his time, roaming the fields, tending to the goats, pigs and cows of his village. He later even managed to study Manipuri dance at the Sangeet Bhawan under Madhab Mukherjee. 

Debu recounted to us a story that started him off on making ornaments. One evening, as he was returning home from the fields with the village cows, he spotted a pair of owls. On the spur of the moment, he aimed his bow that he always carried and shot off an arrow, killing one of the owls. Consumed with guilt and sorrow immediately afterwards, he vowed never to hunt again and as a symbol of his promise, he pulled out some roots from a tree and fashioned it into a bracelet to wear on his wrist. Soon he was making similar bracelets for his friends in the village. 

This incident took place more than 40 years ago but it remains firmly embedded in his conscience. Gradually, he began delving further into the study of herbs and plants. At the same time, he began experimenting with seed ornaments and later ornaments from wild Bena grass and other natural fibres. Some of these are not only decorative in nature, but have healing properties as well, he claims. Debu has also crafted musical instruments , though he no longer does this. He leaves this to his friend Som Murmu who is a master at crafting Santali musical instruments. 

Debu is entirely self-taught and says that he had no guru, but received his knowledge in his dreams. He has received several awards, including a national award for a pitcher that he had crafted from sal leaves. His mother, Srimoti Murmu too is a state awardee. 

A sanyasi now, Debu devotes most of his time to his ornament making. But he also writes poetry, having dabbled first in the Bengali language and much later, Santali.