With the festive season around the corner, it is the best time to walk around the unpaved lanes of the Potters Colony at Hastsal village in Uttam Nagar of West Delhi.
Approximately, 350 families stay here and have been making clay utensils; from cooking vessels to kulhars for tea, huge containers to store grains, special handis to set the milk for curd, or churning butter from milk, to even the hukkas and chillums. Clay matkas (pitchers) are used extensively for cooling water, not just in villages but in urban areas of the country as well. Many people, in fact, prefer water from these pitchers over the refrigerated one.
The idols of gods and goddesses and a number of artifacts made of clay are crafted for the festive season by the traditional potters referred to as kumhars.
Diyas made of clay that have been lighting up Diwali festival, be it in villages, towns, or cities, are made by the potters who work their best for Diwali sales. They sculpt as many diyas as they can, so the rest of the year passes comfortably for them.
Many of the potters in the colony hold national, state, and Shilp Guru awards for their fine work. They continue to make earthen lamps and other festive items, which are sold in national and international markets.
One-of-a-kind and the most ancient art of pottery is dying a slow but sure death. The occupation that was born in the prehistoric ages needs to be revived for the sake of the craft and the thousands who earn their livelihood through it.