Article4
  • Hats off to this collection
    • IT's a colourful, bright array of head-gear that's on display at the Balgandharva art gallery. The personal collection of Kalyan-resident Anant Joshi, the 175 pieces have their origins in the Mughal and Maratha ears as well as in modern -day Russia and Malaysia.
    • The range encompasses the Indian historical headgear like the pagdis of the Peshwas. Shivaji's jiretop, the Adilshahi and Shakuni topis, the Haryanvi and Parsi phetas, western cowboy hats. Tibetian caps, veils from the Middle East, and more.
    • Collecting headgear has been the 28-year-old Joshi's passion since he was a child. While only 175 pieces are on display here, his collection tallies 320, which merited mention in the Limca book of records.
    • "As a child, I watched a lot of English movies and was fascinated by the exotic variety of caps and hats the actor wore. This fascination turned into a hobby when my parents got me a cute Malaysian cap on their trip abroad," says Joshi. Since then, the collector has travelled all over the country in pursuit of his hobby.
    • "Some like the Shakuni topi are original and have been given to me by the heads of the royal princely states," declares Joshi with pride. He has an avid interest in historical literature and scans books for descriptions or pictures of headgear of bygone eras. He then gets an artiste in Nashik to make him a replica.
    • The highlight of his collection is a set of cute, miniature headgear, which adorn the heads of idols in Rajasthan. These pieces are so tiny they can be fitted on one's fingers.
    • Joshi plans to study the headgear, their shapes, and the historical and geographical reasons behind the shapes. "Once all the information is documented, I intend to publish a booklet which will have a picture and related information of each of the headgear." he says.
    • Joshi, who owns an ice-cream factory, has kept no account of how much he has spent on his collection. Some of the headgear has been gifted by friends and relatives. Joshi has to spend on maintaining the headgear, a task which is done by wife, Mugdha. "Even I am fascinated by the mind-boggling variety, now that I take care of the headgear," says Mugdha.
    • So fascinated with the collection was a woman, the wife of an army official, that she returned to the art gallery after some time to gift Joshi a Burmese hat. Joshi was overjoyed...it was yet another feather in his non existent cap!