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Salemohammed Jacab

Interview Summary

Sale Mohammed’s family have been involved in bell making for 70 to 80 years. He was trained in this craft by his father and grandfather. During his time as an apprentice, he was handled strictly, and not only scolded but beaten at times too. Bell makers are very prone to hand injuries, and to overcome the pain they often apply vani(ash) over the wound. The whole process of making a bell is quite difficult, especially the stage that involves baking the bell in the furnace. In the summer, the wind is too hostile to work with the furnace while continuing at night also brings its dangers.

For many years Sale Mohammed operated a lonthi, a large dhamanor furnace.. He told us that it was quite difficult to work with the lonthidhaman, especially as continual sitting causes knee problems. While making the bells, small iron rods for blowing air into the furnace are used; the rest of the work is done by hand. All the instruments bell-making are also made by hands. Although Sale Mohammed is now retired, he supervises a castor-growing farm of around 2 to 3 acres for his son.