Terracotta artistes may soon get an online market
Terracotta artistes of Aurangabad village in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh may have earned themselves a name across the globe, but lack of resources is weakening the love for the craft. The reason for this is more toil and less remuneration
Manish Mishra 3 Sep 2019 9:07 AM GMT
"Our fourth generation is currently working with this craft. If offered a job, I would happily leave this aside and go for it," said Ram Milan, 28, wiping the sweat off his forehead with his mud-covered hand. He was busy shaping a terracotta horse.
Terracotta artistes of Aurangabad village in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, known for their unmatched handicraft and clay artefacts, may have earned themselves a name across the globe, but lack of resources is weakening the love for the craft. The reason for this is more toil and less remuneration.
Efforts have been initiated to involve the reluctant future generation with Gorakhpur's terracotta art, which has earned itself a unique place throughout the world.
Besides promoting these terracotta craftsmen's presence in India and internationally, efforts also have been initiated to mitigate the challenges faced by the potters. The state government has included Aurangabad in 'one district-one product' mission from Gorakhpur.
"These terracotta craftsmen are doing a commendable job, but how to mitigate their challenges and improve their gains—we are deliberating seriously about," Navneet Sehgal, Khadi and Gramudyog Board's chief secretary, said while visiting Aurangabad to discuss potters' issues.
Acquainting Navneet Sehgal with the problem in the chaupal amid people from those villages in Gorakhpur districts where terracotta artefacts are made, Laksmi Swayam Sahayata Samuh's head said: "The biggest problem faced by the potters is that of clay which is to be purchased. The clay is available only for two months of May and June. The ponds having such soil should be leased to the potters."
This terracotta craft of Gorakhpur had pull strong enough to bring past Prime Minister, including Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, to these villages. About 10 craftsmen from the village have been felicitated with national and state prizes.
Instituted for the first time in the state, Maati Kala Board's head Dharamveer Prajapati addressing the potters said, "It is the government's endeavour for the market to reach to you besides other facilities."
Vikarm Prajapati, a resident of Aurangabad who quit the government job of a supervisor offered to him upon completion of high school in1962 to join his ancestral trade now has sons who refuse to do the same.
"My three sons eke sustenance by undertaking painting-polishing contracts in Hyderabad, but do not want to do this job while I made my house, land –everything by doing it," says Vikram Prasad Prajapati while moulding clay pots over potter's wheel. "You see this is the job of our soil, the more we do it, the more we stand to gain," he added.
To curb the resultant disillusionment of youth with this craft due to continual problems and lesser gain and to promote it, Navneet Sehgal said: "We are going to provide them everything they need to boost quality and improvement in their work, including electricity operated wheel, foot machine, etc. It is our endeavour to integrate their craft with technology."
"Not only this but also there are efforts to help improve artisans in villages from other districts to facilitate employment within the villages. We are promoting the village industry, the industry set up in villages will produce more employment," chief Secretary Navneet Sehgal said.
"Our forefathers having done this work, we wish to continue doing the same. But out of the whole year, we only earn well for two-three months. The remaining year gets through with great difficulty. If provided with a year-round market we won't have to suffer anymore," a chaupal attendee, Sarita Prajapati, told, "The traders who come for goods hustle a lot and don't release timely payments."