Master in Silver Craft
[Updated :: 2011-07-29 16:30:20 Hours]
As you pass the Sivam Kovil on the Kankesanthurai (KKS) road in
Jaffna city, your attention is drawn to a sound of scratch of metal.
Turn to your right. You see an old house yearning for an immediate
repair. Peep into the small house from where you get the metal scratching
sound. You can see a well-built old gentleman sitting on a small
bench surrounded by a heap of rubble, scraping a peace of metal
with tiny equipment in his hand. You ask his name. He will say “Nan
Letchumanan Gangadharan” (I am Letchumanan Gangadharan).
“I was born
in Feb 1944 and went to Jaffna Navalar school. When I was at Grade
4, I felt that I must help my father who made souvenirs, curios
and various other items out of wood, brass and silver. Gradually
I found it creative and interesting. Since then I have been crafting
items for people for 55 years,” Mr. Gangadharan, as he is popular
among people, told the CIMIC team speaking in Tamil.
His Late father Mr. Letchumanan taught the art of crafting items
with metal and wood.
“I am using
all kinds of metal for my work. I am not using machines. Everything
is done with my own hands. I have four assistants to help me,”
he added embossing an art on a brass bowl.
about his family, we learnt that his beloved wife Mrs. Wasantha
Mallika passed away about 1 ½ years ago and one of his
four sons also met a sudden death. Mr. Gangadharan has one daughter
too. The youngest son Shanmugalingam, following his father, is
doing small work with metal.
has been recognized by giving many awards and a large number of
certificates by various organizations. “I had no place to keep
them. One by one gradually disappeared. Now I have only a very
few,” Mr. Gangadharan said.
Out of all
certificates he mostly admires the one sent by the Holy Father
John Paul II from Vatican in appreciation of his service rendered
to the church making a replica of Jesus Christ of brass. Mr. Gangadharan
is a pious Hindu.
the “Kala Bhushana” title from the Sri Lankan government in 2005
at a grand function held at the John de Silva memorial theatre
in Colombo,” he referred to that memorable occasion.
“During the LTTE period we suffered a lot. I had to live away
from my home. I lived at Mullai and Chavakachcheri. I had no work
during that period,” he recollected past unpleasant memory.
Jaffna Commander Major General Hathurusinghe wanted me to make
the symbol of Yarl of pure silver. He told me that he would give
it to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. I made it and gave it to the
Jaffna Commander,” he proudly went on to say, “Jaffna Commander
promised me to give a photo of the occasion of presenting it to
Letchumanan Gangadharan lives at N0 314, KKS Road, Jaffna. We
wish this Jaffna legendry figure good health and long life.
His contact number is 021 2228415.