Neglected by Govt, traditional Kashmiri art dying fast

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SRINAGAR: Despite tall claims of state government to promote and preserve the traditional arts of Kashmir, “pottery” art in Kashmir has lost its sheen and is dying fast.

Pottery dates back to 5000 years but has now only few takers while among the younger generation it has become a stigma due to less professional application and marketability of the pottery items.

“We have been associated with pottery since generation but now the potters here in this area are gradually giving up this art. We make etiquette designs which have been center of attraction of tourists valley wide but now we are not even able to meet our both ends. The government is not taking any steps to help in its revival,” A potter, Mohmad Yaqoob of old city said.

In rural Kashmir potters have been limited to making vessels and other house hold items but in urban areas the potters earn livelihood by producing small decorative objects with innovative designs and colours.  

The artisans associated with this art claim that government while reviving other art forms have neglected the pottery which though is considered one of the essential component of Kashmir handicrafts.

The Srinagar-based pottery called the Khanyar pottery that churned the glazed form of earthenware is gradually diminishing due to the few learners. The potters claim that the younger generation has been taking to other form of profession due to the less market demand.

“Earlier we would see toys, vessels and many more household goods made of clay. But now the earthenware has a tough competition in the market due to the arrival of steel and plastic goods. Since a decade, the potters have been declining valley wide and even the new generation seem not to be interested in this form,” said Murtaza Khan another potter.

The artisans blame that government doesn’t invite the potters to showcase their products in exhibition outside state. “We are hardly nominated to participate in any exhibition as the government is bothered about other art forms including Pashmina, woodwork,” he added.

Pertinently Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah recently during his inauguration of an art exhibition had said that the artifacts are declining immensely. When contacted officials of Handicrafts, admitted that the pottery in valley is diminishing terribly.

“The department has not any programme to revive it but she ensured that they would send a proposal to Chief Minister regarding the formulation of programmes to revive pottery. Right now we don’t have any programme for the pottery, but we have called a team and a proposal will be made which will be later send   to chief Minister,” they said.

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