MORADABAD REGION is historically a part of Rohikhand,now called Bareilly division.The Moradabad city,headquarters of Moradabad district,is located 150km from Delhi on the banks of River Ramganga.It was founded in 1625 and named after one of the Emperor Shah Jahan`s sons.The history and culture of the Moradabad district is linked to the Rohillas,a group of medieval Afghan adventures.Their military exploits and conquests in this part of western Uttar Pradesh bordering Kumaon led to the region to be called Rohilkhand.The Rohillas belong,originally,to the region called Roh in Afghanistan.They came to India in 1707 to trade in horses,among other things.The region is thus predominatly Muslim.Amroha has a substantial Shia Muslim Presence.Urdu and Hindi are spoken here,Today it is an important trade centre and one of the most densely populated cities.There are many smallscale brass ware industries and art brass ware is exported.The open plains of Moradabad district are drained by several rivers.The fertile terai has forests which have trees of Sheesham,semal,babul,ber,gular,eucapyptus and khair.Moradabad has over 600 units crafting brass ware for the export and home markets.Brasss objects are made either by casting,moulding or sheet metal forming processes.A number of ornamentation techniques are being used-engraving,embossing,filling in coloured lac in engraved areas,etching,tinning and electroplating.Horn and bone carving is done in Moradabad and Sambhal.Rampur is well known for its handmade knives.Crafts such as zari,gold thread embroidery,block printing and ironwork are practiced in Amroha.
MORADABAD IS A leading cluster for art brass ware in the country.Brass,valued for its golden lustre,is sandcast and the various levels of production are handled by specialized craftsmen. The dhaliyas,metal caste,casts the pieces,while the sheet metal workers and engravers have their own workshops.The entire process of production along with ornamentation usually takes 4 to 6 weeks. Kalamkari, Urdu for engraving and pen work, is done with controlled strokes of the thapi,mallet,on fine pointed chisels.The craftsman engraves from memory unless a new design is asked for.The engraving is shallow,called naqqashi or sada kalam,and deep engraving,called khudai or sia kalam.In khudai the designs are marori,intricate,and the chased depressions are filled in with coloured lac.The lac sticks are heated and applied to the metal.The design gleams in golden tracery against the translucent jewel-coloured lac.Naqqashi is sometimes done on a tinned surface.Traditional styles are mostly floral arabesques.Ornamentation,however,is limited to decorative and dowry items since domestic utensils are scoured with mud or ash after use.A traditional product that needs special mention is the paandaan,made by casting heavy-gauge sheet metal,either copper or brass.
The hinges are manually made as well.Cast pieces are finished by sandpapering on the lathe.They come in all shapes and sizes ,such as miniature vintage cars.The size of the paandaans and the ornamentation reflect the social standing of a bride`s family.The intricate ornamentation is a legacy of the Mughals who also introduced newer designs.During Shah Jahan`s reign the brass ware of Moradabad was exported to Iran,Turkey and the Middle East.Aligarh and Jalesar are two other important centres of brass work in Uttar Pradesh.Craftsmen in Aligarh cast brass locks,statuettes,ornamental door handles and fittings.Jalesar is known for cast bells made in brass.