The last glassmakers of Kapadwanj (Gujarat)

I had written about a lone bell maker left in a Greece town which boasted of few hundreds at one point of time.

We have a similar story of a glassmaker in town of Kapadwanj in Gujarat:

The razzledazzle of Navratri, the longest dance festival of Gujarat, is incomplete without thousands of tiny mirrors embroidered on chaniya-cholis of lovely lasses dancing to the dhols. Likewise, the famed mirror-wall artwork in Rajasthan homes owes it’s thousand reflections to this small town in central Gujarat.

Kapadwanj, located some 60 km east of Ahmedabad, is Gujarat’s glass town, with a mammoth 300 units manufacturing lead-coated mirrors to adorn garments and homes in western India, a century and half ago.

Today, the Shishgar family helmed by Bashir (67) and son Vasim (30) remains the last custodians of the ancient art of making lead-coated mirrors using a 450-year-old technique.

“The home of Shishgar family in Kapadwanj is the only place where one can study the traditional furnace and glass making technique which has remained unaffected by modernity. Records show how lead-coated mirrors made in Kapadwanj were used extensively in European churches and palaces of Rajasthan. Experts also compare the technique employed here with the one practiced in Europe several centuries ago,” says Dr Alok Kumar Kanungo, assistant research professor at IIT Gandhinagar.

What can be done to preserve these businesses?

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