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Ajjaram crafts persons keep alive Andhra’s brassware tradition with aplomb

Majority of the residents of Ajjaram village in Andhra Pradesh are involved in making beautiful and elegant brass objects (Pic. Courtesy/Facebook Brass Metal Industry.Ajjaram)

The crafts persons of Ajjaram, a small village in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district make their presence felt in the lives of most people of the State as well as that of its neighbour, Telangana. It is because the brassware and bronze handicrafts like bells, deities, door bells, boxes, decorative artefacts, baskets, candle stands, aarti diyas and puja baskets they make are part of their life.

Located on the banks of Vasista river, Ajjaram’s brassware industry has gained national reputation for making decorative objects that are both elegant and exceptionally beautiful. In the last 75 years the industry has made a lot of progress and is placed second among other Indian handicraft industries.

Ajjaram has a population of more than 2,700 and a vast majority of them – 2,500 — are engaged in manufacturing brass items for making a livelihood for generations. The work being labour-intensive provides employment to many in the region.

Interestingly, this is one of the few professions which is not limited to a particular caste. Thus, one sees people from diverse castes making objects whose weight ranges from mere 50 grams to 500 kilograms.

In the past all the work was done manually and the art was passed down from one generation to the next. With development of technology and increase in demand, machines to make the objects are being used. However, many of the elders feel that using machines does bring about that sense and degree of involvement which came about when they made products manually.

Despite this, they are happy and content that their work is being appreciated by people. Recently, veteran director K. Raghavendra Rao, used hundreds of brass pots in the song “Velluvachi Godaramma” for his film “Devatha”, bringing Ajjaram into limelight.