Govt. Inattention Stagnates Coppersmith Industry

Monday January 30, 2017

Kabul (BNA) With a background of many centuries, the art of coppersmith is one of our handicrafts and using raw copper, the coppersmiths produce priceless and ornamental house equipment and nice utensils including jugs, basins, small and big pots, buckets, different trays, plates, teapots etc. which enjoy high quality. But since few years, this industry has been forgotten in Kabul and other provinces. One of the long standing coppersmith, Mohammad Farooque who has been involved in this occupation since 55 years, said “The coppersmith work has been inherited to me from my grandfather and ancestors but by passing each day, the coppersmith business is being stagnated. In the past only in Kabul there were over 500 coppersmith shops. Similarly there were a lot of coppersmith shops in other provinces including Herat, Kandahar, Balkh etc. each shop had employed 6-7 workers who were trained. Beside their shops, the coppersmiths had worked in their homes too. Majority of people purchased and use copper dishes and equipment. But today there are only 4-6 coppersmith shops in Kabul with plenty of problems.
Talking on this issue that in the past which organs had purchased and used often copper dishes, Faroque said “In the past MoD, MoI units had used copper dishes for cooking foods to their personals and purchased thousands copper pieces of strainers, pots, ladles, Skimmers etc… and once a year, polished them by coppersmiths.
Thus our business was very good. But today due to imports of aluminum dishes in cheap prices but low quality, our business has been fading. Farooque went on to say as you see even we have posts with over 120 years old background, but every time they broke, can be repaired without any damage. A copper pot may last over 600 years. Pots are made with different capacities. He added now all our copper equipment are pressed and taken to Pakistan. In order to prevent eliminate of our ancient equipment, purchase them in Torkham border, repair them and supply to bazaar. Today, absolute majority of our old copper smothers are not alive if they area live they are old and incapable to work and produce copper dishes with high quality. The products of past years copper-made dishes are like a treasury of historic works that should be protected. If these copper dishes which are taken to Pakistan are prevented and be given to Kabul coppersmiths the Kabul coppersmith market will be revived and regain its past splendor. In the past beside local customers even we had plenty of foreign customers. Talking on the raw materials, Farooque said “Our country is rich with huge copper mines but despite of that we import copper raw materials from Germany, Pakistan, Iran, etc. while the Coppermine in Ainka area of Logar contains the highest quality of raw materials. Even if we are supported, we are capable to produce copper cable. We expect the government to order MoD, MoI and others who need dishes for cooking purposes to purchase their needed dishes from domestic products. We supply one kg copper dishes against Afs 600 and aluminum dishes Afs 200 per kilo, copper dishes last longer. Farooque said, almost 60 years ago Afghans used copper dishes and kitchen utensils. Aluminum, Nickel and iron dishes are harmful to people health. Today most people who come from the US or European countries, order us to make small copper pots for cooking food. Use of plastic or aluminum dishes is another reason behind collapse of coppersmith craft in Afghanistan.
Karima Malikzada

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