Seeking to restore the lost glory of the once-most famous pottery of Pokhran, a small town in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan where India conducted its 1st nuclear test, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) distributed 80 electric potter wheels to 80 potter families in Pokhran which has a rich heritage in terracotta products. Pokhran has over 300 potters’ families that are engaged with pottery for several decades, but potters started looking for other avenues due to heavy drudgery in the work and no market support.
Apart from the electric wheels, the KVIC also distributed 8 blunger machines in a group of 10 potters, used for mixing the clay which can produce 800 kg clay in just 8 hours. Manually it takes 5 days to prepare 800 kg mud for pottery making. KVIC has created 350 direct employment in the village. All 80 potters who were given 15 days training by KVIC came up with some exquisite pottery. The products ranged from Kulhar to decorative pieces like flower vase, sculptures and interesting traditional utensils like spherical bottles with narrow mouth, Lotas with long spouts, and other spherical utensils used for cooking as well as decorative pieces.
The potters brilliantly depicted the “Swacch Bharat Abhiyan” and “International Yoga Day” – through their pottery art. Incidentally, it also coincided with the International Yoga Day being celebrated on Sunday.
After distributing the electric chaak and other equipment through video conference, KVIC Chairman Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena said the exercise is aligned with the Prime Minister’s call for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” and strengthening of potters aimed at creating self-employment while also reviving the dying art of pottery.
“Pokhran was till now only known as the site of nuclear tests but very soon the exquisite pottery will be the new identity of this place. The main objective of Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana is to bring back the potters’ community to the mainstream. By providing potters with modern equipment and training, we are trying to reconnect them with the society and revive their art,” Saxena said.
The KVIC Chairman has also instructed the State Director of KVIC in Rajasthan to facilitate marketing and sale of the pottery products at Barmer and Jaisalmer railway stations to provide marketing support to potters. “Pokhran is one of the aspirational districts identified by the Niti Ayog. 400 railway stations selling eatables only in earthen/terracotta pots include Jaisalmer and Barmer, the two major railheads in Rajasthan that are closest to Pokhran. The state KVIC unit will facilitate the sale of their pottery at these railway stations given the high tourist footfall in these cities,” Saxena said.
Notably, the KVIC has launched Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana in several remote areas in states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, J&K, Haryana, West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana and Bihar. In Rajasthan, more than a dozen districts including Jaipur, Kota, Jhalawar and Sri Ganganagar have been benefited by the program.
Under the scheme, the KVIC also provides equipment like blunger and pug mills for mixing clay for making pottery products. The machines have eliminated drudgery from the process of pottery making and resulted in higher income of potters by 7 to 8 times.