BY Ehsaan Yousf

Ganderbal 16 Dec 2022: Pottery is one of the professions that have suffered the most in the Kashmir valley with the advent of free market. The Kashmir Valley is a place which is known for its traditional arts and crafts and pottery happens to be one of the eminent crafts.

Each day, as the valley steps into a new day, the clay-made utensils find it hard to make place in daily usage, as people prefer plastic or steel utensils these days.

Not only has this changed the traditional lifestyle in the Kashmir valley, but has also left the traditional potters, who carried forward their ancestral legacy of pottery to struggle for a living.

Report Look talked to a professional potter, Abdul Ahad Kumar, who might be the last one in their ancestral lineage to carry forward the profession.

Abdul Ahad Kumar (75), a resident of Barwala, Kangan in central Kashmiri’s Ganderbal district said while talking to Report Look, “Pottery has been an ancestral occupation of our family since ages. Hence, I’ve done this job since I was a child.”

Talking about the products that sell the most, he said, “If we talk about the demand of these pottery products in the market, nowadays, we make earthen pots that are used in Kangris (firepot) and Tumbhaknaris (a Kashmiri musical instrument). These products are in demand in the market right now and are the main source of income for us today.”

He also told us the products that would be of regular usage in Kashmiri households, but are not anymore. Abdul Ahad Kumar said, “The products that have stopped selling off are glass, plates, a pot that was used for storing water, frying pan and the pots that were used for storing curd. We do not make these products anymore. With the passage of time, copper and steel vessels that were introduced have been heavily used. Due to this reason, our products have stopped selling off.”

“We are not involved in any other job or occupation besides pottery. Our household runs on this, alone. There’s no source of income besides this,” he added.

“We, somehow, have been able to manage bread and butter with pottery, but with the rising inflation, it has become difficult for us to manage family expenses,” Kumar said.

“We don’t receive any support from the government either. No government scheme has been introduced so that those from our profession are able to sustain livelihood. If the government doesn’t pay attention to pottery, we will witness that with the passage of time, pottery will die altogether,” he added.

“We are involved with traditional pottery because we are doing it right from our ancestral times,” he further added.

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