We live in a time when traditional employments are becoming endangered occupations in the face of the development of the society with science and technology. The young men who have got used to adopt their style with new trends, thinking in terms of scientific and technological development, have turned a blind eye on such jobs for reasons best known to them in this modern society.
However, there are many women who have never hesitated to take up challenges in life even amidst the difficulties. This is the story of a woman who is engaged in shaping and fabricating iron in a traditional smithy which is considered to be obsolete today.
Journalists have gone to meet a woman who was engaged in striking and shaping red-hot iron on an anvil holding the piece of iron with finger tips like a head of a rattle snake. She works hard like an iron from morning till night ignoring the sweat with which her whole body is covered. She is H.M. Rupika Damayanthi whose place of work is a smithy located in Maharachchimulla area in Alawwa.
Although she was sharpening a blade of a knife, chewing betel, she kindly beamed at the journalists in a gesture of receiving them.
She asked, “Gentlemen, what made you to come this side? Are you going to write to a newspaper? Pleases wait a little, the blade of this knife is out of shape. It can be brought back to the natural shape when it becomes red hot. Let us talk after finishing that work.”
In the meantime, she began to put some pieces of coconut embers on to the blade and struck the blade with a hammer keeping it on the anvil. Its noise echoed and re-echoed in the environment. She got the help from her assistant, Nandasena to strike the blade in turn using two sledge hammers, disregarding the
“Now, the shape of the knife is brought back,” she said.
When delving into her past life story, she said, “I was born in 1983. Our parents took great pains to bring us up and educate us. I studied up to the G.C.E. O/L examination and did not pursue further education. I did sundry work without wasting time. In the meantime, I came across a good husband who loves me. He is K.M.Sugath Kumara. I had never gone to a smithy when I got married.”
I was born in 1983. Our parents took great pains to bring us up and educate us. I studied up to the G.C.E. O/L examination and did not pursue further education. I did sundry work without wasting time
She said further that her husband had started a smithy close to her home and began to make various kinds of domestic tools such as knives, machetes, chopping knives, spikes for husking coconuts and coconut scrapers with the assistance of Nandasena. Having gained an experience of making tools with them , she was able to work in the smithy alone.
With the passage of time, they were able to start a smithy on a leased land in Maharachchimulla town. She said it is a successfully on-going business with a good income and the iron- products are sold at the weekly fair by her husband.
According to her, any kind of domestic tools can be made by them and with the good income gained by their profitable business, they lead a good life with their two children who are in grades eight and five. Arrangements are being made by them to impart good education for their children while working and doing
She said proudly that it is not the difference between the male or female that matters in doing an industry successfully but the grits, guts and determination that lead to their success.
There are many women who struggle with iron like Rupika to achieve the success of their forward march towards a better life, but the crux of the question is to ask whether this kind of women had been given a due place in society as a moving force?
The time has come for the government to give a due place to women, and we all have to appreciate the role being played by women towards the development of the society.