Stories of Artisans

Know their Story Struggle

Vijay Kumar, Brass Band Master, Alawalpur

I am the Brass Bandmaster. We only play the wedding song tunes with the musical organs and instruments; military bands also perform steps. We have three kinds of programs – turbaned Punjabi band, Folk Punjabi band in Bhangra dance attire, and Pahadi band.

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Sunil Kumar , Thathera, Lehragaga

I’ll (Sunil Kumar) show you a copper leaf, a customer from Patiala asked me to make. I’m sure if she tries to buy it from one of those fancy stores it will cost her four times what I’m selling it for. Small shopkeepers like us can make all sorts of objects with copper but we need customers for that and there are none here

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Sohan Singh, Almira Maker, Saraud (Sangrur)

I have been working for 50 years. I started helping out my elders early on. I worked in Gobindgarh for a year and a half, but I had to return to Saraud due to some family concerns and settled here permanently from then on. I am 67 years old now.

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Simla Nath, Snake-Charmer, Guru-Harsahai

We used to walk to a village, sit in front of a house and start playing the Been (wind instrument). Children and grown-ups would gather and ask us to perform with the snake. When we were done we would ask for a donation which most of the people made.

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Satpal Singh, Tea Maker, Moga

I’m at this shop from 50 years. My father used to sit here before me. I’ve sold tea all my life and it has been worth it. My children are married and I’ve bought them their own shops, not too big but big enough to support the daily errands.

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Sarabjeet Kaur, Sherbet maker, Amritsar

As far as I know, the business was established in around 1919 and officially registered in 1932. It’ll be 100 years next year, I’m the fourth generation running it. Right now, we have 18 different types of sherbets.

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Sanjiv Kumar, Sewing Machine Maker, Lakkad Bazaar, Ludhiana

When we were little, our mother passed away. After mothers’ death, our father started spending all his money on getting drunk and saved nothing. When our elder sister was married, he sold the house to keep up with the expenses and bought a smaller one in exchange.

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Ranjit Singh, Blacksmith, Daun

Machines can never replace what’s done with hands. All this repair work you see, this fine finishing with these tools is handwork, there’s no machine you can place it under and get such results. I’ve been here for 35 years and I don’t think I will leave soon.

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Ram Singh, Leather Tanner, Malerkotla

My ancestral village is Mehatpur, near Nakodar. I am over 50 years. I have studied till the fourth standard. I could have studied further, but my brothers had me leave school to go to Calcutta; my father had been working there for 20 years. I worked there for 10 years. When our father died, we moved to Malerkotla.

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Rajkumar Sharma, Bra-maker, Amritsar

My father used to be a tailor. Then, when we grew up, my brother started making bra patterns. He was so creative. We started working on bras. He made such comfortable pieces. He knew the exact size to be made.

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