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Mistri Moolchand, watchmaker and mechanic to the Maharaja of Benares, teaching his son in his own house, Varanasi (Benares)

Mistri Moolchand, watchmaker and mechanic to the Maharaja of Benares, teaching his son in his own house, Varanasi (Benares)

Photographer: Bromochary, Brajo Gopal

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1870

Shelfmark: Photo 1000/46(4708)

Item number: 4708

Length: 19.4

Width: 25.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of Mistri Moolchand and his son at their house at Varanasi (Benares) in Uttar Pradesh from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: India Office Series (Volume 46), taken by Brajo Gopal Bromochary in c.1870. Mistri Moolchand and his son are seated at a low worktable in the foreground, with other craftsmen at work in the background. Photographs like this one were exhibited at European exhibitions to demonstrate teaching methods in India. This image is inscribed, "Taken by the photographer in the service of H. Highness the Maharaja of Benares. Private School of Art...After exhibition to be placed at the disposal of the Secy. of State for India." The Imperial Gazetteer of India, describing this type of instruction, states: "Under the native industrial system the child learns his hereditary craft from his father or is apprenticed to a mistri, or master-craftsman, who is often a relative of the pupil...The child begins his work at a very early age; at first he is expected to undertake the menial duties of the shop, and is put to cleaning the tools; later he begins to perform the simplest operations of the trade. There is little definite instruction, but the boy gradually acquires skill by handling the tools and watching the workmen at their task. As soon as he has made a little progress, the apprentice is granted a small wage which is gradually increased as he becomes more useful; and when his training is finished, he either goes out into the world or secures a place on the permanent roll of his master's shop."

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