In modern era, Kumar family strives to keep traditional art of pottery alive

Get order of 20k earthen lamps ahead of Diwali, appeals youngsters to learn art

Srinagar, Oct 17: In the modern world when people are hooked to technology and modernization, a family in Ishber area of Nishat here is struggling hard to keep the traditional and ‘dying’ pottery alive.

Once a famed art, the demand for pottery is declining with each passing day as the modern technology and the items have replaced the pottery utensils in the Valley.

Abdul Salam Kumar, who is in his 70’s, told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that there was a time when the people used to host the guests on the marriage ceremonies only after getting the dates fixed from the potters.

“However, the time has changed as the people are giving preference to the utensils made of copper, aluminium, plastic and others, which has given birth to new diseases as well. If a person starts using the utensils made of earthenware, there will be no threat of diseases at all,” Kumar said.

He further said that the new generation was reluctant to continue with this job as the demand decreased to a large extent, thus the people working as potters switched to the other professions.

Kumar is associated with pottery for over 35 years now as after completing his studies till Class 5th, he has joined his father and started learning the art.

“A the art is dying with low demand in the market, I opted to keep the traditional art alive and asked my sons not to switch to other professions and take the mission forward. My three sons are also working as potters now,” Kumar said.

Besides the low demand, the people switching to other jobs are because of the hard work in this field. “Nobody is ready to do hard work. Only machines could help in easing the work,” he said.

Nonetheless, the forthcoming festival, Diwali has brought some relief to Kumar and his family as they have received an order of 20,000 “diyas” (earthen lamps). “I have received the order of 20,000 earthen lamps ahead of Diwali as the demand of earthen war seems to have increased yet again,” he added.

Kumar is selling his earthenware at his 60-year-old shop in Hazratbal area of Dargah.

He also appealed to the younger generation to learn the art. “The youth should come here to learn and open their own units later to keep the traditional art alive,” he said.

Kumar’s son, Mohammad Umar Kumar is also keen to keep the traditional art alive, saying that he would never leave this profession to ensure the presence of this art here—(KNO)