AND SILVER SMITHY.
GOLD AND SILVER INDUSTRY had been very prominent in
this district since the middle of 19th century. The total number of
establishments of gold smiths and shroffs in the city was 95 in
1854. [Graham, The Statistical report on the principality of
Kolhapur, 1854, p. 492.] In 1926, Dr. Balkrishna in his survey [Op.
cit., p. 1.] on Kolhapur town reported that gold and silver smithy,
was the only one big industry in the city. Out of 247 shops of
jewellers of goldsmiths 185 were of gold-smiths who were
manufacturers of gold and silver ornaments. Sonars,
marathas, brahmins, jains, muslims,
kshatriyas and lohars were the main communities
engaged in the industry.
There were 181 establishments in the city at the
time of survey; 80 per cent, of these were located in B and C wards
and the remaining in A, D and E wards. The total employment in all
of them together was 508 out of whom 204 were members of employers'
families and 304 paid workers. Six establishments were surveyed in
the sample. Of these, three were started round about 1920, the
fourth in 1930 and the remaining two in 1944 and 1950 respectively.
Manufacture of gold and silver ornaments was the principal
occupation in all the establishments in the sample. The occupation
provided employment throughout the year. They were started by the
proprietors with their own capital.
The equipment of a goldsmith was anvil, bellows,
hammers, pincers, pots, crucibles, moulds and nails for ornamental
work, tika autti, [A type of mould required for making
tika.] saj autti, [A type of mould required for
making saj.] drilling machine, cupboards, chairs, etc. The
cost of equipment varied from Rs. 500 to Rs. 2,000. In the largest
establishment it was more than Rs. 2,000.
Two establishments were Situated in owned premises,
and the remaining four in rented premises. The rent varied from Rs.
8 per month to Rs. 50 per month, being Rs. 30, Rs. 35 and Rs. 50
respectively in three cases. The working capital of the smallest
unit in the sample was Rs. 500 and of the biggest Rs. 50,000.
The raw materials required by these artisans were
gold, silver and copper. Four establishments were consuming only
gold and a negligible quantity of silver, one only silver and the
last one both gold and silver. The quantity of gold consumed by five
establishments varied from 10 tolas to 50 tolas per month. The one
which was using only silver consumed 1,000 tolas of silver and the
other one which was using both silver and gold consumed 25 tolas
gold and 800 tolas silver. Raw materials were provided by shroffs in
the city to four out of six establishments in the sample and the
artisans charged wages for the manufacture of the ornaments.
Two establishments had no paid employees and were
managed by members of proprietors' families. The other two employed
six paid employees and four persons from the members of owners'
families. In the remaining two, five members of owners' families and
three paid employees were engaged. Wages of paid employees varied
from Rs. 30 to Rs. 100 per month. The wages of an employee who did
the work of polishing, was Rs. 35. Tika maker was paid Rs. 65
per month and saj maker Rs. 100 per month. All these workers
had to work from seven to ten hours a day.
These artisans usually manufactured gold and silver
ornaments like tikas, necklaces, beads, chains, idols, rings,
saj, and silver utensils, vessels etc. They mostly received
orders from local shroffs or bigger establishments dealing in gold
and silver. Four of the six establishments in sample received orders
from shroffs. They only took wages in return for the manufactured
products. These artisans served the orders of the whole district as
well as Khandesh. The earning of these establishments varied from
Rs. 150 to Rs, 850 per month. Business in three out of six
establishments was profitable and in the remaining three the margin
of profit was reported to be very low.