Ex-Empress Mill employee wishes to present Jamsetji’s bust to Tata

Chandrakant Ambhaikar
Chandrakant Ambhaikar
NAGPUR: The lanky frame of Chandrakant Ambhaikar belies the lofty work that he holds in his hands and the hope that lurks in his eyes. The 75-year-old moulding instructor shows off an aluminium bust of Sir Jamsetji Tata which he wants to personally hand over to Ratan Tata.

“This is the master which I had created during the 125th year celebrations of Empress Mills,” says Ambhaikar, who retired from there in 2000. “I want to personally give it to Ratan Tata. He would appreciate my work as it is an invaluable piece of art for his family,” he says.

“From 1961-1963, I was an apprentice at Empress Mill after which I joined ITI in Pulgaon as instructor,” he informs in soft tones. Putting his training in moulding to artistic use, Ambhaikar designed two crests for Ordnance Depot at Pulgaon. “There are very few artists who can mould metal into such works of art. I was asked by the officials there to make two crests of crossed swords. I made one in brass and other in aluminium which are displayed on the main gate and porch,” he says.

It was in 1978 when he returned to Nagpur to work at ITI that destiny intervened to take him back to Empress Mill. “The moulding machine there broke down and somebody told the general manager that I could repair it. It was a machine for mass production and I went there and rectified the fault,” he says. The management asked him to stay back. “They offered me a handsome package and took very good care of me,” he says.

When the 125th year celebrations were to begin, he was asked to think of some unusual feature which could be put up at the mill. “There already was a huge statue of Jamsetji Tata and I thought I should do something which was handier. So I worked on this bust for three days, prepared a mould of plaster of Paris, did fine work like making the mount on cheekbones higher and fine detailing of beard. When I showed it to the manager, he was very happy and I made three such pieces.”

Ambhaikar is not very sure where the three busts are. “But since March 3 is Sir Jamsetji Tata’s birth anniversary, I want this message to go out so that I can somehow reach Ratan Tata,” he says. “I have a lot of regards for the Tata family as I lived a good life being their employee. I am sure they will be happy to receive it as it is like a family member returning,” he thinks out loud while wrapping the bust in soft cloth.

Published on Times of India