Punjab potters deserve recognition as artists

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Ferozepur, Sep.11 : Artisans engaged in preparing pottery in Khuian Sarvar village of Punjab's Ferozepur district have earned a name for themselves for the uniqueness of their products and designing ordinary pots into decorative pieces.

They have been practicing their art for generations. Among them is seventy-year-old Maniram who has been making pots for decades.

From picking up the special clay, moulding it on a spinning wheel into a pot, to baking it in a kiln, has been the daily routine of Maniram for years.

Today, the attractive colourful designs made at the humble workshop by Maniram and his son Heera Lal, make the pots more than just utility items. They are decorative pieces of art.

Maniram, who picked up the craft from is father, is the head of a few families that still continue making pots in the region. His four brothers, who are also carrying on the art as family tradition, have moved to different parts of Punjab, like Abohar.

They believe that they have inherited a special talent. But many of them complain about their hardships. They feel that their products deserve better returns. They seek proper recognition for their art.

Heera Lal, a potter says: "We are into pot making since our forefathers' time. I inherited this art as a legacy from my father. But now we don't want to continue it because do not earn enough. Our products are sold abroad as well but still get poor return."

Maniram's entire family is involved in pottery. Their products are intricate and display traditional designs. Each piece is distinct from the other.

After shaping the clay, the pots are decorated and glazed. The final step is of putting the pot on fire and to give it the finishing touch.

Mani Ram used to make vessels for storing drinking water for daily consumption. But, due to a falling demand, the family has started making decorative items. The finished products are fascinating for anyone as they come in all shapes and sizes, different colours and patterns.

He has introduced innovations in design. The modern touch is visible in the pitchers, lamps, flowerpots and tandoor utensils. All products from the traditional hookah to the modern vase, reflect their creative expression.

Locally posted army personnel as well as tourists from within India and abroad buy their products.

Meena, one customer, said: " I have heard that some very nice pottery items are sold here. I have also seen different art works from this place in several houses in the army cantonment. It was my wish to come here once to see them. I am very happy to be here and amazed to see their variety."

In days to come the products prepared by Maniram may not be used for daily use, but will surely be sold as pieces of art. Will the government support the artisans, who are also artists? By Avtar Gill

ANI

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