Will this election end dark days of black pottery in Nizamabad?
The craftsmen in Nizamabad are least interested in talking about elections as no political party has paid heed to their demand of setting up a soil bank in the region.lucknow Updated: Feb 26, 2017 14:57 IST
Battling with the shortage of clay, craftsmen are trying hard to save black pottery in Nizamabad – the stronghold of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Last few years have been particularly difficult for Dilraj Prajapati who has been nurturing the craft of black pottery for five decades.
Dilraj is among 500 craftsmen in the region that is famous for black pottery. The craftsmen here are least interested in talking about elections as no party has paid heed to their demand of a soil bank in the region.
“We face shortage of clay which is the first and foremost requirement of pottery. Serious efforts are required to do away with the shortage. If concrete efforts are not made now, black pottery will gradually disappear,” he says.
Dilraj starts his day working on a potter’s wheel, moulding clay into pots, firing and colouring it. “Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav should set up a soil bank for the conservation of the craft that we nurture from dawn to dusk,” he adds.
“We have no idea of politics but we will vote again. Why politicians do not pay attention to our problems and make positive changes in our lives,” says another potter, Manoj Prajapati.
“Black potter of this region is unique but in the absence of facilities, many craftsmen have migrated to cities in search of better employment opportunities,” he says.
Anil Prajapati, 30, says youngsters don’t want to take up pottery due to shortage of clay and low earnings. “After working all through the day, a potter earns around Rs 200-250. The craft requires hard work in preparation of clay from the soil which we buy from farmers,” he says.
“After grinding soil, we prepare a thin solution which is filtered to remove pebbles. We dry it and make its dough. The entire process takes 3-4 days,” adds Anil.
Interestingly, Anil has not heard the name of Gayatri Prajapati, a close confidante of Mulayam.
Black pottery is in demand in Japan, Korea and Latin America. It also got geographical indication (GI) tag in 2015 following the efforts by Dr Rajnikant who works for getting GI tags for crafts in eastern UP.
Black pottery is common in seven villages including Nizamabad, Hussainabad, Farha, Alipur and Centara in Azamgarh.
Nizamabad is one of the 10 assembly constituencies presently represented by Samajwadi Party’s Alambadi. The SP patriarch represents Azamgarh in parliament.
The region has 11 craftsmen who are state awardees and is also the home of national award winner Shohit Prajapati. He won the award in 2015.