Kenarchati (Gaya), Feb.19 : Members of over 80 Kasera families, engaged in the well-known brass industry of Kenarchati Village near Gaya till recently, are confronted with the biggest dilemma of their lives.
They have to choose between loyalty to traditional profession and survival.
These families are struggling to survive due to popularity of stainless steel utensils and other modern synthetic kitchenware. And, thus, for the last couple of decades, the local brass industry is facing a gradual decline.
Lack of adequate government support to the brass industry here has ruined brassware craftsmen's lives. It has become very challenging to carry on making brass products in prevailing conditions, say the local craftsmen.
These families are gradually giving up their traditional craft of moulding brass utensils and other items. Today, the brass craftsmen are limited to just 15 families.
"There were around 85 houses engaged in the brass business. But, gradually, it has started declining. Today, it is left with only 15 to 20 houses in the business," said Arjun Sahu, a Kasera utensil maker of Kenarchati.
Many of the Kaseras, who were earlier a part of this cottage industry, have taken up other professions. Some of them have touched such a low in life that they are reduced to beg alms.
"The local brass industry has hardly 20 to 25 people left engaged in it. They are running short of money and so they have taken up other professions including begging to survive," said Dilip Prasad, another Kasera utensil maker.
But there was a time when the cottage industry of moulding Brass utensils was viewed as an integral part of the life of Kasera community at Kenarchati Village.
Not just that brassware prepared by Kaseras at one stage even earned their village the name of 'Moradabad of Bihar'. Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad city is famous for its brassware and novelties.
A major reason attributed to the downfall of this cottage industry is the lack of funds and required machineries which have added to the worsening situation.
Craftsmen believe their industry can survive only if it has government support.
"This occupation has been a source of our livelihood since the time of our ancestors. However, due to the lack of money, we are suffering a lot. It has also started affecting the kids badly and even the business is now on the verge of extinction," said Saryu Sahu Kasera, another brass utensil maker of Kenarchati.
"We need some assistance in terms of finance and machineries for its revival and modernisation," Kasera added. By Surya Pratap Singh