The coppersmiths of Tambat Ali are an intrinsic part of Pune’s rich heritage which is why on a sunny Saturday morning I ventured into these lanes and captured them on my lens for posterity.
(Picture Credits: Pranjali Bhonde)
He sits on the bare floor outside his house hammering the ‘gangal’, a copper vessel used to store water. Another coppersmith sits next to him hammering his vessel.
However, he works oblivious to his surroundings in what looks like a composed scene. He is unfazed by the noise and by the fact that a bunch of photographers are trying to get a picture of him. In no time the smooth copper vessel has circular impressions all over. The copper vessel looks resplendent against the morning sun.
The utensils comprise cooking utensils, storage pieces, decorative pieces that go through a process of heating, cooling, annealing, and finally ending with the ‘mathar kaam’; the art technique which produces the signature rhythmic sound.
This art has been passed down generations. The artisans that I met today happen to be the 4th generation coppersmiths that strive to keep this art alive.
In the courtyard that is shared by many houses, children are seen playing.
They watch their fathers and grandfathers create beautiful copper pots daily.
Because somewhere in their hearts they know that a few years down the line, it is they who will have to take this otherwise dying art forward.
These coppersmiths are specialists in the traditional art of matharkaam, which is the art of beating copper to make it strong.
I cannot help but notice his withered hands that have over the years created much magic.
However, as I leave, I see women buying these copper vessels- haggling with the shopkeepers, reiterating the fact that this dying art still has takers. I look up and pray that the art doesn’t wither in the sands of time
A special thanks to Aboli Thosar for teaching great photography.