Date of Publish: 15 July, 2016
Kishore Talukdar, NEZINE–
Artisan families engaged in pottery in South Kamrup areas of Assam have been keeping alive this ancient craft the despite the onslaught of plastic containers and utensils flooding the market. About 18 lakhs artisan families throughout the state engaged in this craft use indigenous potters’ wheels to make their products. However, those who and do not have a wheel of their own have been trying to make their both ends meet by relying on wheels of their neighbours.
Clay, cow-dung, firewood, hay and sand are essential for this craft. Artisans have to purchase all the materials barring clay, which is dug out from the nearby field or collected from under water when the field is inundated. It is not an easy task for most of the poor artisans to procure these materials from the market.
Two communities namely the Kumars and the Hiras are engaged in this craft in villages enriched with indigenous pottery including Rajapukhuri, Gargara in South Kamrup of lower Assam, Kumar moulds clay pots which are reliquaries and are used in auspicious occasions. Hira community mostly makes utensils used in day to day life like pitcher, large-sized bowl etc. The male members collect the clay from river-bed while female members are engaged in making wide-ranging products. A wooden tool is used to soften the clay before making the products. Raw earthen products are baked for 24 hours which is called ‘thupa diya’ in local parlance. If it rains during ‘thupa diya’ period, entire efforts go in vain.
Title Picture: Kishore Talukdar