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Kashmiri Potter’s tireless bid with earthen lamps ahead of Diwali

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Srinagar: Potter Mohammad Umar Kumar is working enthusiastically and tirelessly at his Nishat unit to meet the huge order of 20,000 earthen lamps before the auspicious occasion of Diwali being celebrated on October 24.

The 27-year-old a Kashmiri commerce graduate, Umar, had hit the headlines last year across the globe by claiming that his hand-made glazed pots made of clay are hygienic as compared to the machine-made items from China and America.

“As the auspicious occasion is approaching I have started working throughout day and night to meet the deadline of 20,000 clay lamps ordered received from a reputable firm”, 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.

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.

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 says a lamp at my unit costs Rs 2 to 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 forefathers traditional business of making clay pots.

“I am doing it now for the past three years very successfully and earning handsomely,” said the budding entrepreneur.

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.

Umar also had a busy schedule in making age-old backed clay Kashmiri musical instrument “Tumbaknari” on the wheel.

He said “in view of the marriage season presently underway in the Kashmir Valley, I have got another big order of making a traditional Kashmiri musical instrument “Tumbaknari”.

The 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.

Umar, besides working on the earthen lamps order also making at least 100 “Tumbaknari’s” a day. “Tumbaknari” costs Rs 100 at his unit and is sold in the market for Rs 300-500 a piece.

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.

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