Photo: Sazedur Abedin Santo

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Pottery making

Photo: Sazedur Abedin Santo

Each country has its own craft heritage. Although we have many, from authentic Jamdani weaving to bamboo basket knitting, very few people know their history and traditions. Today in this article we will talk about one of our most talked about legacies: the art of pottery and the village that keeps our pottery legacies alive.

The Bengali term for pottery making is ‘mritshilpo’, which primarily specifies the maneuver of the craft: the soil of Bangladesh.

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Photo: Sazedur Abedin Santo

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Pottery making in Bogura

Photo: Sazedur Abedin Santo

Bamunia Palpara village of Gabtoli upazila, Bogura is one of those places where the soil is meant for handicrafts. When you get there, the smell of the earth proliferates. And you can see thousands of earthen pots lined up in front of tiny thatched-roof houses. Every once in a while someone peeks out the door to take a look at the pots drying in the summer sun. Once they are hard enough, the potters will begin the real magic, which is to color them as they wish and later sell them in the market for us to enjoy the charm.

But the irony of fate would take the livelihood of this small village to the ultimate level. The pandemic would destroy nearly all opportunities to stay in the craft and instead prompt artisans to think of other alternatives to earn a living. The lockdown and pandemic spawns have forced the Baishakhi fair to be curtailed across the country – a major sales hub for potters and thus a continuation of years of financial losses and strains.

Puspa Rani (60) from the village of Bamunia confesses: “We have been doing this since childhood. I still do it out of respect for my elders. But I don’t want my children to do this job. I give them formal education, so they can be able to do other things in the future, especially something that helps them live a better life.”

Surya Rani (70 years old), another craftswoman from the village shares her tribulations: “The trade is no longer the same. This has not been the case for two years. People don’t want clay pots anymore. serious financial crisis because of this change. »

Photo: Sazedur Abedin Santo

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Pottery in Bogura

Photo: Sazedur Abedin Santo

Visiting the village, one can see that nursery pottery and pots of greenery and curd are making the most of the sales. They are sold for 3 Tk per piece. In addition to this, artisans also make a variety of earthenware, including pots and pans, utensils, flower boxes, vases, animal and bird shapes, decorations, ornaments, etc. The price of these items ranges from 3 to 1000 Tk.

Khokon Kumar Pal, another craftsman, said, “This profession left by my grandfather and then my father ended long ago. I always try to keep this work alive. But I don’t know how long it will take. possible.”

Md Mofidul Islam, Chairman of Sonara Trade Union Council in Gabtoli upazila of Bogura, said: “Around 500 families in this village are making clay items. They are almost all low-income families. We have developed plans to improve their quality of life. .

“Those without land have been given houses through shelter programs. They also get old age allowances. Government food aid has been given to those who have had no food during the pandemic. Palpara is a pride of our Bogura district, we do our best to keep arts and crafts alive by supporting the livelihoods of artisans,” the president said.

Pottery is an integral part of our traditions. It is our responsibility to perpetuate this craft by supporting it. Special crafting can only survive if we give it the attention it needs. Which means if we go back to our roots and buy these items to use in our daily lives. Only then will this pottery die out.

Hope is the only word that keeps the world alive. And pottery also has its version of hope by its side. Modern technology, today, helps age-old unique crafts stay alive in new ways. Whatever the form, our sincere hope is to keep the art form and artisans alive for years to come.

Translated by Mehrin Mubdi Chowdhury

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