An intrinsic crafter of bidriware

An intrinsic crafter of bidriware
From a one-room house in Bidar old city to the Republic Day parade on Rajpath in New Delhi, it has been a long journey for bidri artisan Shah Rashid Ahmed Quadri. The artisan, who was part of the bidriware tableau at the parade, was once advised by his father to quit the profession as there was no money in it. However, he did not quit because he liked hitting metals with chisels and a hammer. 

Born on June 5, 1955, Shah Rashid Ahmed Quadri hails from a family of bidri artisans. As a result, Quadri got exposed to this craft from a young age and was trained under his father, Shah Mustafa Quadri. “I was forced to get involved in this craft to support my father, who was the only earning member in our family,” says Quadri. Initially, his father was not keen on him joining the shop as he felt  the profession was not remunerative. He received a lot of encouragement when he began doing the craft and improved upon his father’s traditional designs. After a long period of training, he started working independently in 1970 and introduced various unique patterns.

Quadri has experimented with various bidriware techniques and patterns in his work. He introduced phooljhadi design and reintroduced sheet-work, an old technique that was used by court artists in the Bahmani Empire. Additionally, he is also an expert in wire and sheet-work inlaying.

Quadri has also trained several people in bidriware. Around 80 youngsters and many women have benefited by the training. Shaheda Begum, who has been working under him for the past two decades, is one such woman and has become an expert in sheet technique. He has also hosted various training programmes, where he taught bidri art. Some of the programmes he taught are organised as an apprenticeship training scheme.

Ample recognition
Quadri received several awards for his work including the Karnataka State award in 1984, a national award in 1988, district Rajyotsava award in 1996, Great Indian Achievers Award in 2004, and the Swarna Karnataka Rajyaotsava Award in 2006. Recently, he was honoured with Shilpa Guru award. The award is given in recognition of excellent craftsmanship, product excellence and for being instrumental in the continuance of crafts as a vital part of traditional heritage.

He exhibited his works in several countries and gave live demonstrations as well. These included the Science Festival of India that was held at The Museum of Science in Boston, USA in 1987 and a live demonstration in Holland in 1992. Bidri Art was selected to represent Karnataka at the Rajpath in New Delhi on Republic Day in 2011. Quadri, along with his team, took seat on the tableau with his work and gave a live demonstration. The Karnataka tableau was awarded second prize that year. Apart from being a professional artisan and inspiring many others to continue the legacy, Quadri has also served as a member of Karnataka State Award selection committee in 1998. He can be contacted on 9880690669 or at novelbidricraft@yahoo.com.

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