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UP’s traditional potter takes e-way to entrepreneurship

It was tough for Sunil Prajapati, 40, to decide whether he should continue his ancestral occupation of pottery or opt for some other business to make a living.

lucknow Updated: Feb 05, 2018 14:26 IST
Farhan Ahmed Siddiqui
Farhan Ahmed Siddiqui
Hindustan Times, Allahabad
Pottery,Traditional business,Uttar Pradesh
Sunil decided not to give up his traditional work though he faced multiple challenges.(Sheeraz Rizvi/HT Photo)

It was tough for Sunil Prajapati, 40, to decide whether he should continue his ancestral occupation of pottery or opt for some other business to make a living.

Sunil was disappointed over the downfall of pottery – one of the oldest occupations in the history of mankind. Almost all members of his family had either switched to other businesses or took up jobs.

Despite the suggestions by the members of his own community that he should take up some other business,

Sunil decided not to give up his traditional work though he faced multiple challenges.

“Plastic utensils have ruined the market of earthen pottery and it is difficult for us to advertise our products. Knowing the importance of earthen pottery, I was sure I will be able to sell my products and make money,” he says.

A high school dropout, Sunil planned to create some new designs and copied some latest handmade designs of earthen pottery.

When he got the feel of the changing trend, Sunil found that instead of traditional model, people are attracted towards new designs of traditional earthen wares like cups, jugs, pots and even ‘chillums’.

Three months ago, Sunil re-launched his family business with full vigour with a small capital.

Advertise his products and convincing the people to use earthen wares instead of plastic utensils was a major challenge for him. However, Sunil used his good terms with some cooks in his area to advertise his traditional and new design earthen wares.

The cooks got him some big orders of the products at some marriage functions and other programmes. He also presented his pottery before some hotel owners of the city some of whom ordered a regular supply of cups and other earthen utensils.

Sunil’s nephew Pawan, a tech savvy designer, helped him in promoting the products through WhatsApp and Facebook.

Pawan regularly takes photographs of earthen wares and sends it to all his friends and acquaintances bringing in more orders for his uncle’s earthen products.

“I have designed some new models of earthen pottery which I show to my customers. Once given a nod, I produce the ordered quantity and supply it to them. My customers themselves convince others to place orders. Sometimes people show their own designs of pottery and I make its exact copy. The orders have increased since my nephew Pawan used WhatsApp and Facebook to advertise my products,” he says.

Sunil is planning to expand his work. He uses his small house and courtyard for manufacturing and baking pottery but he is now planning to take a proper shop where he can put the products on.

“I could have easily taken up some other profession but for the sake of tradition and keeping the ancient art alive, I continued with my ancestral work. There is a need for some innovation in traditional work to compete with factory-made products and plastic utensils,” he says.

“I am looking forward to some government scheme which can help me in expanding my business. I also request the people to go for traditional handmade wares instead of factory products to help save the ancient Indian art,” Sunil says.

Sunil Prajapati working at his small courtyard (Sheeraz Rizvi/HT Photo)

“I gave the order for earthen cups to Sunil at a family function after I saw them at a marriage party. I asked the host to provide me his mobile number and I approached him. I believe earthen utensils should be used to promote the ancient art,” says lawyer Vikram Singh.

‘TOOK UP GRAPHIC DESIGNING BUT STILL A POTTER AT HEART’

Sunil’s nephew Pawan, who gave a fillip to his business, says though he took up graphic designing, he is still a potter at heart.

“I quit my ancestral profession and became a graphic designer but I am still a potter at heart. I give full co-operation to my uncle in promoting his business,” Pawan says.

“I promote his products through WhatsApp and Facebook. I also hope to design new pottery which may catch people’s attention. Soon I will create a website on which our new designs and products will be displayed,” he adds.

First Published: Feb 05, 2018 14:26 IST