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Pottery industry on verge of extinction

Pottery industry on verge of extinctionPotter S. Paradesi at his creative best at Kummari Veedhi in Visakhapatnam
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Nimble hands of S Paradesi bring out impressive earthen wares as he meticulously focuses on his target for hours under scorching sun.

Visakhapatnam: Nimble hands of S Paradesi bring out impressive earthen wares as he meticulously focuses on his target for hours under scorching sun. Even at the age of 90-plus, the lone warrior strives hard to keep the pottery profession alive and eke out living. Being in this profession for over eight decades, Paradesi is an inspiration to many potters who form a part of Kummari Veedhi at Dondaparti.

The potter says, "I work alone from morning to evening making some items like flower vases, lamps and others with clay. I cannot make pots since I have become fragile now. Even though I earn a little, I never thought of any other profession than this. I wish people stayed in this field, at least during the summer, I am concerned that pottery will also be replaced by machines."

The plight of potters is clearly visible in the neighbourhood. Though there were potters in cities like Visakhapatnam in the last decade, they shifted to other line of work such as daily wage labourers and construction workers. Though potters were not available in the city, there are few pot-sellers who continue their business by getting pots from neighbouring areas.

A clay-pot selling family near Daspalla hotel at Jagadamba junction expressed their satisfaction in this business as they get profits during summer. M Umadevi, owner of a pot stall said, "Our ancestors came here eight decades ago when the city is in its budding stage, they were potters by profession. But after that slowly we lost the art of making pots and confined ourselves to selling the pots. So, we now source clay-pots from Rajamahendravaram and sell them."

The pot sellers and the last generation of potters left in the city hope that people would support their craft by purchasing the wares. B Prathyusha, a buyer of clay-pots stated, "We buy costly products at malls without a second thought and we bargain while purchasing these clay pots which are Rs 150-Rs 200. After all, they are making these for their livelihood, not to build multi-storied buildings like the corporate big shots."

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