In times of pandemic, 'dying' pottery making a comeback

Amid COVID19 pandemic when almost every business is in slump, Kashmir’s, earthenware business has picked up a sudden demand.

For the past few weeks, Gowhar Kumar’s shop at Aqalmir, Khanyar in the Downtown here is getting good number of customers.  Kumar Mohalla in the locality is home to the potters.

“One customer purchased some 95 clay pots and two others took around 50 and 40 pieces. One more customer purchased around 21 pieces. This is a week back,” said Gowhar, 24.

“They wanted pottery of their choice, but since we don’t make it ourselves now, we sold them whatever was available with us. They wanted it for marriage functions,” he said.

Recently, a picture showing people relishing wazwan in earthenware apparently at a marriage function went viral on social media.  “Traditionally, art of pottery in Srinagar has been confined to certain pockets including Zewan, Lethpora, Ishber-Nishat, and other areas. Besides, most pottery articles in demand have been musical items played traditionally on marriage ceremonies,” he said.

A few meters from Gowhar’s shop, is Mohammad Ashraf’s shop. 55-year-old Ashraf said they have given up the art of making pottery long back due to less demand. “However, in the past few weeks customers are coming up with orders,” he said.

“I cannot take their orders since we are not making it ourselves now. However, whatever finished items we can get, we sell them. It is good that people have realised that earthenware is good for health,” said Ashraf, adding that pottery is both eco-friendly as well as cheap.