“ Identity is more important than money. I will chose having only one meal a day but keeping my identity intact rather than having a full stomach everyday but working just another one in the crowd”. As kids, the word ‘Thathera’ was a mere consonance with the ‘th’ syllable that we enjoyed murmuring. But do any of us know about the ‘th se thathera’ community? Thatheras of Jandiala Guru are a proud community of individuals engaged in making pure copper and brass utensils. Despite low incomes many thathiars continue the tradition in the name of the family since the utensils they make is their identity.
The thathera community is spread across the country and is still carrying on the beautiful craft of handmade utensils. Those who remain are believed to be the last generation of their families to carry on the craft since the younger thathiars have taken up urban jobs to sustain their families, but their skills remain intact and waiting for an opportunity.
For over 200 years the traditional techniques of hammering brass and copper sheets into utensils have been passed on from father to son defining our cultural identity and livelihood. However unfortunately due to increasing competition from cheap machine made products, the demand has continuously dwindled. Out of original 500 families, a mere 30 remain carrying on the legacy in Jandiala Guru, Punjab, the heart of the Thathera community.