Potter Mohammad Umar is working enthusiastically at his Nishat unit, on Srinagar outskirts, to shape earthen lamps to meet the demand before Diwali- that is being celebrated on October 12.
Over the last few years, he has been molding clay into art and the festive season of Diwali brings a lot of the work to him.
“As the auspicious religious occasion is approaching, I have started working throughout day and night to meet the order of several customers”, 29-year-old Kashmiri commerce graduate Umar told UNI.
Umar has big dreams for the pottery industry in the Kashmir Valley. He is making every effort to give it a new lease of life and bring it at par with modern times so that Kashmiri hand-made pottery could find its customers all around.
He said that about 1,000 earthen lamps can be made on the potter’s wheel in a day if one works from dawn to dusk.
He said it takes time to dry the clay and to make it solid by baking in the fire.
Umar said one lamp costs at his unit for Rs 5 while it is being sold in the market for Rs 10 per piece.
Umar could not find a job after completing his B.Com and decided to revive his forefather’s traditional business of making clay pots.
“I am doing it now for the past four years very successfully and earning handsomely,” Umar said.
Umar hit the headlines in 2021 when he claimed that his hand-made glazed pots made of clay are hygienic as compared to the machine-made items from China and America.
The people who were associated with the pottery business in Kashmir had almost given up the craft. These particular artisans have nearly disappeared from the valley because there have been no takers from the present society with high-profile living standards.
Umar has put on display a number of his art pieces on the potter’s wheel, including rice bowls, flower pots, jugs, and tiles outside his unit at Nishat.
Umar also had a busy schedule in making age-old backed clay Kashmiri musical instrument “Tumbaknari” on the wheel.
The age-old musical instrument native to Jammu and Kashmir, the “Tumbaknari” is an earthen shape used for singing in every Kashmiri function especially during the weddings, with its roots believed to stretch far back into Iran or Central Asia.
He gets huge orders from dealers almost all through the year who are selling them in the market after covering one side of the instrument with leather.