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The dying art of making ‘Chandi ka Waraq’

Hyderabad: As the machines are replacing humans in every field of life, the art of making ‘Chandi ke waraq’ is on the verge of decline. There was a time when there were several shops on the Charminar-Shah Ali Banda stretch where a group of men could be seen beating sheets of plastic with hammer producing a rhythmic tong-tong sound. The silver foil is made of small pieces of silver. The material is kept in a book made of plastic sheet and hammered till it takes the shape of tin foil. Using papers, the silver foils are removed and sold in the market to businessmen.

According to a report published in Telangana Today There were around 50 small units in the city a few decades ago now there are just around 10 waraq shops in the city and only a handful of workers are now continuing with the trade. The industry has crumbled down owing to the veg and non-veg issues and also because of machines replacing man power making the product much cheaper.

Another reason for dwindling of the trade is the ‘rumours’ that cow hide is used during the process of transforming the silver particles into foils. It is rumoured that the intestine of cow or bull made sheet is used to keep the silver and then hammer it.

However Mohd Akbar, a worker at UTC Waraq shop at Charminar had refuted the claim and revealed that following such rumours, years ago the makers of the waraq had switched to the German plastic sheet which is used in machines also.

Foils are made in three varieties, aluminum, silver and gold. Aluminium waraq is applied on silk clothes, fruits and meat, the silver for decorating sweet packs, delicacies and used by hakeems for wrapping medicine. Nevertheless, the gold one which is costliest of all is made only on order.