This is the story of such a business which was run by 300 families, now there is no jugaad of bread for two times.

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Harikant Sharma

Agra. Time changes, we all must have heard this. But the changing times sometimes bring something good and sometimes it also leaves a tear. This story is of one such tussle which is being faced by hundreds of families in Agra. There is also a crisis of livelihood in front of many. These people, who once added business words to their names, were replaced by machines. The situation has become so bad that someone is pushing the ready and someone is doing a job somewhere. Once again the word story is used here because it is expected that like a story, the troubles of these families also end. Here we are talking about the business of book binding. The wheel of time changed such a turn in just 20 years that the hand craftsmen were replaced by big machines.

According to the information, 20 years ago there was hardly any house in Raja Mandi, Gokulpura and Valka Basti of Agra in which book binding is not done. There were many works like book binding, cover making, diary, register, bill book which were done in every house here. There were about 200 to 300 families whose livelihood was supported by the work related to book binding. Along with women, children also helped in this work. A large part of the city’s economy came from this trade. But the cycle of time went on such that technology took away the livelihood of these laborers.

The machines took away the work of the workers
Ramesh Chandra, a resident of Valka Basti, is 68 years old. The eyes are blurry. But still do the work of binding books. Recalling the old days, it is said that 10 to 20 years ago, there was a lot of work of book binding people from house to house. There were artisans in every house. But now big machines have come, the work which the artisans do, the machines have started doing that work. Now no one wants to bring their children in this work. Along with this, many publications have opened their own factories.

New artisans do not want to come in this business
Local artisan Deepak has been in this work for 20 years. Deepak’s other associates have now left this work with silver anklets, ready dhaki or have started their own startup. Deepak is also looking for other business. He says that now there is not much money in binding. Due to the implementation of GST on paper too, the rest of the work is over. The work of book binding is counting its last breaths. Deepak is also going to shun this business. When orders are received, he goes to work in this factory in his spare time.

What to do now even if there is no other work?
Daulatram who is a local artisan who has been doing this work for 50 years. With this work, the livelihood of his house runs. Earlier, most of the book binding work was done by hand. But now advanced machines have arrived. It is not a matter of people like Daulat Ram to work on it. Machines work very fast. They get four to five rupees just for binding on one book. The cost of education of the children is also not able to meet. But even if they do, do they not have any other work, which they can do.

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