February 16, 2020
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Dodhi Pathak

Dodhi Pathak

A Baul singer makes for an unlikely dentist. But in the Nalbari district of Assam, Dodhi Pathak makes teeth out of bamboo for the many patients who line up outside his clinic. Pathak lost his own front teeth when he met with a scooter accident. He couldn’t afford the polymer-based denture the dentist was offering, so he set about making his own out of a special bamboo variety locally known as the mokal. Today, a knife and file are the tools of his trade and he uses them to shape out incisors and canines and molars out of the underground node of the bamboo plant. It costs him just Rs 30 to make the front incisors and Rs 50 to make the molars; the task itself takes him just 30 minutes. Pathak claims that some 4,320 people in Nalbari and Guwahati are using these bamboo teeth. And it isn’t patients alone Pathak has won over with his achievement; it has also fetched him a national award of Rs 25,000 from the National Innovation Foundation in Ahmedabad.

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