India is a land of primordial tradition and cultural diversity. Historic evidences and archeological studies are depicting that copper mining in India is as old as its tradition. Ancient manuscripts references describe the different aspects of using copper and making it into lifestyle products. In ‘Yajnyavalkya-Smriti’ mentioned that Agnau suvarnamaksheenam Rajate dwifalam sate, Ashtau trapuni sise cha, Tamre panchadasayasi. Which means When the metals strongly heated in fire the lose of gold is nill, where as in silver is 2%, tin 8%, lead 5%, copper 5% and iron 10%. In the chapters of ‘Rasaratna-Samuchaya’ and ‘Rasarnavam’ depict the mining method, details of alloys and proportions to make different mixtures of metals which is the clear evidence that ancient Indians were masters in metallurgy.
Ayurvedic manuscripts like ‘Charaka Sanhita’ explain the medicinal value of copper and importance of using copper utensils in our daily lifestyle. Ayurveda describes three fundamental universal energies which regulate all natural process on both the macrocosmic and microcosmic levels. These three universal energies are known as ‘Tridoshas’ :- Vata, pita and Kapha. As per ayurveda copper has the ability to balnce these three doshas and it can be occurred by drinking ‘tamara jal', the water kept in a copper pot over night or for eight hours. Copper also helps to prevent acidity and gastric issues; it is good to cleanse the stomach and also helps in losing weight. Copper is said to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and also strengthens the immune system which helps the body heal better. Copper also helps maintain cardiovascular health as well as regulates the blood pressure. Copper is known to be a brain stimulant which also has anti-convulsive properties, which are good for the brain growth. Copper also helps the thyroid gland work better, calms inflamed joints and maintains skin health. Ayurvedic manuscripts deal a separate wing which describes benefits of metals like copper, bronze, gold, silver, iron etc.
Cultural heritage of coppersmiths in Maharashtra is also as old as its histrionic tradition and culture. In 1730 Ad during the period of Peshwas was the golden era of coppersmiths in Maharashtra and they got exceptional opportunity to showcase and market their talents. In Marathi copper is known as ‘Tamba’ and coppersmiths known as ‘tambat’. Heretofore the tambats were known as ‘Kasar’ which is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Kansya’. Kasar is considered as one of the sons of Vishwakarma the Indian mythological architect who is also having the name ‘Twashta’, whose other sons were Maitha; the carpenter, Manu; the blacksmith, Daivadnya; the goldsmith, and the Patharvat; the sculptor. Hence the coppersmith community is known as ‘Twashta Kasar’.
Twashta Kasar or Tambats are part of an age old social system known as ‘Bara Balutedars’ and these are the artisans working and dealing in utensils of copper, bronze and brass. In olden times were based on barter system where people would exchange good for goods or service. The twashta Kasar were also a part of system where the customer would go to the kasar and provide old utensil. Later on the coppersmith would reform the utensil according to the requirement and the artisan would get a bagful of grains as remuneration. The age old system has not changed as yet, except that the remuneration is paid in money. In Maharashtra the Twashta Kasar community can be seen in places like Thane, Colaba, Pune, Ratnagiri, Chiplun, Mahad and Roha.