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The Dying Chirrrp Of Kolhapuris

How the beef ban is killing an iconic piece of footwear

The Dying Chirrrp Of Kolhapuris
Photograph by Apoorva Salkade
The Dying Chirrrp Of Kolhapuris
outlookindia.com
2016-08-09T14:46:50+05:30

The mildly pungent smell around Shahaji Tapase’s house in Jawaharnagar, Kolhapur, makes one think leather work is on. But it’s the smell of the past. He used to run what’s known as a “bag tanning” unit: the hides and tanning ingredients are sewn up in a bag, hot water poured in and left till the tanning is completed. At his closed dukan, a picture frame of a Hindu god and another of ‘786’ with the backdrop of a mosque hang from a pillar. It’s from units such as Tapase’s that the leather for the famous Kolhapuri chappals is sourced.

With business in decline for several years now, the communities involved in all that goes into the town’s eponymous chappals now feel even more cornered because the beef ban has impacted the prices and supply of leather. No threat or violence has been reported here so far, but with the shock of Una incident fresh in memory, manufacturers and labourers are afraid it’s not long bef­ore the last nail is hammered in the coffin. Already they report a 20 per cent drop in supply of...

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