STORIES 2018-09-15 08:53:07 Gurdeep Singh Blog post



Baldev Singh | Shepherd | Tolawal

I’ve been doing this for 25 years now. When I began, I bought two goats from the village Togawal. One costed me 1100 rupees and other one was for 900 rupees. When the work picked up, I bought some sheep too. Slowly the number went from 17 to 45. Then it just went uphill from there. When I had enough money, I sold the animals and bought me some land but I couldn’t stand being at home all day

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Sanjiv Kumar | Mechanic | Ludhiana

When we were little, our mother passed away. After mothers’ death, our father started spending all his money on getting drunk and saved nothing. When our elder sister was married, he sold the house to keep up with the expenses and bought a smaller one in exchange. He was yet to register the house under his name, but he had no money left to do that, so he sold that house too and we moved to a rented place. Then my father married off my younger sister.

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Diyal Singh | Cobbler | Panjola

I am around 74 years old. I am working as a cobbler from 25-26 years. Prior to this, I used to be a farm labourer with the Jatt landlords and then I used to be a daily wage labourer. When I stopped doing the labour work. I learnt shoemaking from the village Balberha. There was this shoemaker of Jafarpur. After that I worked in my village, mending and making the shoes.

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Karnail Singh | Tailor | Kanakwal

My childhood was like every other child. We were four brothers and three sisters. My elder brother is a police officer and the youngest is a farm labourer. The middle one passed away. All three sisters are elder to me. My father was very good at farm work. We did not have our own land, so he was a share-cropper earning one sixth of the produce.

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Kirpal Singh | Horseshoe maker | Majeetha

I am 45 years old now. I passed the 10th grade in 1989 and started making horseshoes in 1990, I must be 15 or 16 years old then. In those days this profession was enough to pay the bills, I never felt the need to apply for an actual job.

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Kulwant Singh | Photographer | Adampur

I got married in 1975. That same year I went to Austria. There were a few of us who travelled by road at that time. Eventually, our visas expired after a year. We were expelled and forced to cross over to Yugoslavia. Fortunately, I had some money to travel back. I still wonder what would have happened if I had to stay back.

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Indervir Singh Atwal | Electrician and Truck Driver | Payal

We are from Farala. It is a village near Banga (district Nawan Shehar). My father had lived with his maternal grandparents in Doraha near Ludhiana. After my father’s mother passed away, and the stepmother neglected him, his maternal uncles took care of him. In ’58 my father got work in the State Electricity Board.

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Pritam Singh, Shinderpal Singh | Weapon Engravers | Bhinder Kalan

Our village is home to many Jathedars (leaders) of Damdami Taksal of Sikh faith. For generations, we have been engraving the traditional weapons; we are the fourth generation. Being artisans, our forefathers could make anything from a wagon to a rifle. Their work covered a whole gamut of artisanal jobs, be it masonry, black smithery or carpentry.

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Yeramma | Fish-seller | Visakhapatnam

My name is Yeramma, and I am 50-years old. I was born and raised in Visakhapatnam. I got into the business of selling fish and other seafood when I was ten years old. My mother used to sell fish near the beach in mid-1970s.

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Balbir Kaur | Dari Maker | Arnauli

My name is Balbir Kaur. My paternal village is Daghaat near BhadsoN. It was my aunt who taught me this craft. I can do embroidery and knit sweaters. I have done all kinds of work – cotton picking, chilli picking, yarning the cotton. I know how to knit cotton shawls too. It is tough work; I learnt it but never did it.

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Neelam | Kulcha Maker | Manimajra

I can make ten rotis in ten minutes, one roti per minute. The pranthas keep going on till 11 at night. That’s because I have registered our shop with Zomato company, and they demand paranthas till that late at night.

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Bara Singh | Ironsmith | Singhanwala

My forefathers, who had lived in Pakistan, were also ironsmiths. They made ploughs, yokes, and other tools for the farmers. It used to be called sepi. Our village was Baar, near Burewala. I was named after the name of the village. A couple of months before the partition, the village leader sensed the troubles.

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Vijay Kumar | Band Master | Alawalpur

I am the Brass Bandmaster. We only play the wedding song tunes with the musical organs and instruments; military bands also perform steps. We have three kinds of programs – turbaned Punjabi band, Folk Punjabi band in Bhangra dance attire, and Pahadi band. We try to recreate the bygone atmosphere. I am the master, so I take the lead.

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Ram Singh | Leather Tanner | Malerkotla

My ancestral village is Mehatpur, near Nakodar. I am over 50 years. I have studied till the fourth standard. I could have studied further, but my brothers had me leave school to go to Calcutta; my father had been working there for 20 years. I worked there for 10 years. When our father died, we moved to Malerkotla. We used to have our own business but we had to shut it down because of the losses.

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Hussain Ali | Hookah Maker | Malerkotla

Hookah business is slow these days; it used to be good before 1947. There were eight workshops here, now it’s just me. I was an apprentice with a hookah maker for four years. I learnt the craft from him. My grandfather was into some other field of work. I kept working with my father and learnt the craft slowly.

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