Ufaq Fatima

Copperware makes a comeback in Kitchens of Kashmir

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Srinagar, Aug 03: With many artefacts in Kashmir being at the brink of extinction, copperware is likely to stay in Kitchens of Kashmir for now.

Unlike other cultural goods, which are in high demand here, the revival of copper has proven to be possible. In the Zainakadal area of the Old city lie many copperware shops that are running this business for years.

According to the shopkeepers, with the onset of steel and plastic, copperware took a back seat. “However, with the addition of new items and designs to it, it is back in demand.”

Umer Ahmad, who represents the fourth generation of his family in this business, runs a copperware shop in Zainakadal area of Srinagar along with his father. From its making to the selling of copperware, the family of Umer continues to remain associated with this business for decades now.

“Today the demand for copperware is extremely high. This happened only when new techniques were used in this business. Earlier, we used to make few items like Samovar and other few utensils but now we are making other different items also,” said Umer adding that he preferred his family business over a job out of his own interest.

Umar said that they witness a huge rush of customers during the marriage season in Kashmir. “Here families invest in luxurious copperware be it a highly designed Samovar or other copperware utensils for serving the guests during marriage ceremonies,” he added.

According to Umer, his father, Mushtaq Ahmad is very passionate about his business. “He not only sells copperware but reveres its cultural importance. In my family, no one is allowed to walk over the area where we manufacture copperware.”

Manufacturing of a single copperware item like Samovar takes four to five months to complete. First, the raw material is purchased, followed by tinning and then finally detailed designing is done on them.

“There was a time when only copper utensils were found in our kitchens, but for some years now we have replaced them with plastic utensils. However, after people started to become aware of the health hazards of plastic utensils, they have again started using traditional copperware,” said a local.

Interestingly, copperware is not only making a comeback in kitchens but it is also gradually replacing the plastic products used during marriage ceremonies here. “Recently, on my daughter’s wedding, I made it sure that no plastic products were used for serving food items,” said a local adding that using copperware on such occasions helps us to promote our culture and most importantly, the copperware is environment-friendly.

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