In Solan, the blacksmith community lives an impoverished life, in spite of its hard work.
Avdhesh, our Community Correspondent in Himachal Pradesh, used to see them every day on the sidewalk, toiling near the small plastic covered huts where they eat, sleep, and as they themselves put it, ‘live and die”. He decided to make a video about them to create a space to narrate their lives of labor, made of broken dreams and promises.
The community has been working as blacksmiths for generations, learning skills from their fathers and passing it on to the next generation. Being gypsies, the community was traditionally migratory, searching of work all over the state. But recently they settled in Solan, permanently setting up their tents on the city’s pavements. Despite long hours of work, most of them do not earn more than 2000 to 2500 rupees a month. They are unable to send their children to school because they can’t afford the cost of uniforms and stationary.
For this community, last decades economic boom has not delivered any of its promises. Progress has merely made their lives harder by depreciating their work. The objects they forge being gradually replaced by mass-produced commodities.
Avdhesh was impressed by the hard work of the blacksmith community. He wishes that they are compensated for their toil, so that they can offer a brighter future to their children.