The Coppersmiths of Tambat Ali, Pune

in Module
Published on: 14 December 2018

Natasha Nargolkar

Natasha Nargolkar is an independent ethnographer based between Mumbai and London. Her research background and interests are spread across visual anthropology, environmental conservation, intangible cultural heritage, public policy and visual culture. She has completed her M.Sc. in Anthropology and Development Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, and has been a Research Scholar and graduate student of Development Economics at the University of Gottingen, Germany.

Tambat Ali in Kasba Peth, Pune, Maharashtra, is a 300 year-old community of coppersmiths continuing to practice their traditionalal art of creating copper vessels by hand. Once the caretakers of the Peshwa empire, the tambats migrated from the Konkan regions to settle in Kasba Peth to make cannons and weaponry for the Peshwai military. Among the many arts of the coppersmiths, mathaarkaam or the art of creating perfectly precise indentations onto copper vessels through rythmic hammering, is one that sees itself in grave danger of extinction.