Mighty hands that mould copper : A photo story from Pune

We belong to a society that is forgetting to appreciate the handicrafts that have been passed down to us over generations. Moreover, we are forgetting to appreciate the artists who keep the fire burning.  One such community of artists are the copper artisans from Pune, Maharashtra- the Tambat Ali Workers.

They are a community that settled in Pune around 400 years ago; the Peshwas being their first patrons. The community that was once the talk of the town has been sidelined with the advent of stainless steel and plastic utensils.

Aware of the fact that the pots they get a few hundred rupees for are being sold for thousands in the market, they have no option but to continue with their art, desperately hoping that none of the future generations have to suffer.

Meet the workers of Tambat Ali and get to know their everyday struggles.

1. “When I was younger, my foot and thighs would hurt a lot while hammering the design on the piece and using the foot for support. Now I have become used to it. I can keep my foot still for half an hour while I am finishing a piece, this ensures that the consistency is maintained.” Ganesh Karde was 18 when he started working with copper, it has been 25 years since.

 

2. “I have a degree in Bachelors of Commerce, the constant sound of hammering has affected my hearing, but this is the only job I can do the best. I wear gloves while working because I have clammy hands and the moisture may leave black marks on the copper.” Ajit Pimpale is from the third and the last generation of copper workers from his family.

 

3. “I don’t work after 5 PM because the light isn’t good enough, the bulb is of little help. Some of us still work after sundown but I can’t.”

 

This photo story has been created by Arundhati Bhande. She is among the 20 students a.k.a heritage enthusiasts from The Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication who participated in the Make Heritage Fun! event held on 26th March 2017, in Pune, India.

 

 

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