Nazar Battu Maker

PuttapaNazar Battu Maker

Serving the
superstitious

The most ubiquitous of all superstitions in India is the Nazar battu, an icon or charm which takes many forms such as the Mahakal face mask or chilly lemon that can be found hanging outside homes and shops across the country. The idea of using Nazar battus to ward off buri nazar(the evil eye) piqued my curiosity and more than belief, it was a growing interest in the person behind the charms that led me to Puttapa—a third-generation Nazar battu maker in Bengaluru.

Puttapa learnt the skill of making clay Nazar battus from his father and has since been involved in his 100-year-old family business. However, Nazar battus alone are not enough to run his household. He has also begun making murtis and diyas to earn a living. Using standard designs that have been in his family for generations, Puttapa first creates the moulds out of clay before making the final products. He only uses pure clay sourced from nearby areas to make both the moulds and subsequent products and is very keen on preserving the design moulds that have been passed down by his ancestors. Apart from his regular clients, he also sells his Nazar battus and murtis to small shops in the city.

Recently, Puttappa has noticed a stagnancy in his business as the people willing to buy Nazar battus today, are few and far between. Even if a few clients are willing to use these products to ward off the evil eye, they are more inclined towards metal Nazar battus as opposed to the original clay versions.

Puttapa believes the craft has no future. “In the early days, making Nazar battu was a big thing in the city and with time, this craft is moving more towards the outskirts. Even my children will not continue my job after their studies. I am the only one doing this job, and this craft will die with me.”

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