Janmashtami or Krishna Janamstami is a festival of Hindus but in a village located in the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar Muslims too eagerly wait for the festival.
The Bada Sumera Murgiya Chak village of the Kudhani block of Muzaffarpur is home to 25 to 30 Muslim families who have been making flutes for at least four generations.
They make brisk sales of the flute - a musical instrument used by Lord Krishna, whose birthday is celebrated on Janmashtami – as people tend to buy it on the festival day.
Muslim villagers say their families have been making flutes as a profession and it is their only source of livelihood. Mohammad Alam says he learned the art of flute making from his father about 40 years ago.
He said the art of flute-making in his village remains unmatched and it is highly rated. The village supplies flutes across Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
Flutes are also sold during the Dussehra fair.
The villagers use reed wood for making flutes. For this reason, the locals cultivate this crop. Noor Mohammad, another local says he has been making flutes since the age of 12 to 15 years.
He said the reed weed is first peeled and dried before making it into a flute. Generally, a family makes more than 100 flutes per day. The price of a flute ranges from Rs 10 to Rs 300.
Some of the villagers hawk the flutes in surrounding villages. The cost of each flute Is Rs 5-7. Villagers complain that the cultivation of reed plants has fallen yet people have not shifted to other wood and continue with the tradition.
Artisans also buy reeds from other districts for making flutes. The villagers are asking the government to provide them with financial assistance for the preservation of this art form.
The flute artisans believe that they have managed to preserve this art so far but now they need the government's support to scale up their business.
The villagers say they not only need reed wood but also a market for their product.