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KYC – Know Your City: Puneri Pagadi

The inner bylanes near the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati still have that old-world charm,replete with quaint temples,old shops and the odd flourishing banyan tree

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Pune | Published: September 2, 2013 1:30 am

4 Introduced in: Late 19th century

4 Available at: Moti Chowk,Budhwar Peth

4 Average price: Between Rs 300 to Rs 700

The inner bylanes near the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati still have that old-world charm,replete with quaint temples,old shops and the odd flourishing banyan tree. Every lane or ali had a purpose,history and a story of its own. The Moti chowk,in Budhwar Peth was known as the pagadband ali or the lane of the pagadi makers in Pune. Here,traders,shopkeepers and craftsmen worked together to make the trademark Puneri pagadi in the early 20th century. The bright red turban,lined with zari and made with silk or satin,is a symbol of the Puneri honour. Even now,the Puneri pagadi is available in the older parts of the city only.

Girish Murudkar,a third generation shopkeeper in the area,who runs the 80-year-old establishment Murudkar Jhendewale,says that the iconic headgear was considered as a symbol of wisdom and education during the turn of the century. “Vidvaan people used to wear it. It was worn by the Peshwas in the form of a Chakri pagadi. It had a wider brim,and a sturdier form. It finally evolved into the smaller version,made iconic by Lokmanya Tilak. Till about late 50s,lawyers in Pune used to wear it to court as a matter of course.” Worn by iconic Marathi personalities such as Tilak,JS Karandikar,DD Sathye,Tatyasaheb Kelkar and Datto Vaman Potdar,the Puneri pagadi became popular in the contemporary times with the Marathi play,Ghashiram Kotwal.

In modern times,the Puneri pagadi is used mostly to felicitate and honour guests and scholars,especially the ones who are not from the country. During festive seasons,especially the Ganeshotsav,the Puneri pagadi is used to decorate the Ganesh idols. Priced between Rs 300 to Rs 700,Murudkar informs that their establishment sells around 70 pieces per month. To preserve the identity of the pagadi,there were demands from the locals to grant it a Geographical Indication (GI) status. Their demand was fulfilled and the pagadi became an intellectual property on 4 September 2009.

Prajakta Hebbar

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