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Preserve tradition of pottery from extinction

From the very beginning of our Banglee culture, pottery has represented our identity and lifestyle. The artisans' works include making clay-pots, earthen ware, toys of clay and different idols of gods and goddesses have been the tradition of our culture. But it is now regrettable that in recent times, especially in the last decade potters have been in distress. Because of these unavoidable factors like clay, lack of capital, unsatisfactory selling of clay pots, lack of fuel wood for burning raw pots, their plight is in peril.

Earthenware and fashionable things of clay are being rapidly supplanted by aluminum, plastic, steel and other alternative materials. Even toys for children are being made with wood and cloth. Besides, so cold prestigious people never tend to buy earthenware thinking their image and status. But it is admitted everywhere that cooking pot of clay is more conducive to health than pot of silver or other materials. Cooking rice of clay-pots help to cure gastric problem. And pitchers keep water cool in hot days. Another cause for not selling clayware is its brittleness. Inspite of being more cheaper than other aluminum or plastic made pots, clay-pots are not being sold available. Thus potters have to survive with a negligible earning.

To observe the present condition of potters I visited Vaagandanga village in Faridpur, my home district on spot. A potter named Paras Chandra Pal (in picture) told with rage, after liberation war many potter families had left the country away. The reason behind their leaving home allegedly are precarious future of pottery, oppression by neighbours as communal violence, political molestation & feeling of dire insecurity. He also informed that to bring money as a loan for capital from banks, they have to pay bribe to bank officials. NGOs often help them by providing loan with low interest. Potters are also concerned at the rising price of fuel wood and clay. Above all, their hard labour to pottery is not undeniable at all. Many of them grudgingly rush to adopt another occupations leveing pottery gradually.

Hence, government and connoisseur of pottery both should come forward to alleviate their poverty and evaluate their artistical work precisely. The commoner can also play a role merely considering the question of precisely. The commoner can also play a role merely considering the question of preservation of our Banglee tradition.

(Source: The Daily Star ,Palash Podder, Dept. of Socilogy, Dhaka University, August 27, 2003)

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