Potters Village- 'Kumhaargram'
'Kumhaargram' , at Vikas Nagar, New Delhi 110059, is an intiative of the South Asia Foundation.
Legends reveal that Brahma created man out of clay. The similarity drawn when a potter creates and mould out products. Hence, the name Prajapati is given to a potter in India.
Since no organized efforts have ever taken place to improve the quality of life of these potters and help them in enhancing their productivity, apart from the various activities organised by the South Asia Foundation at “Kumhaargram” like regular workshops, seminars, health camps, cross-cultural programs, and others, the Foundation realized that there is a need to take an initiative for a comprehensive development of these potters with a holistic approach. Efforts are being made so that these initiatives support them to enhance their socio-economic condition.
There cannot be a better opportunity to support such micro-enterprises of Delhi potters at grass-root level where minimum resources are needed to be mobilized for maximum benefit covering a large section of artisans in a single settlement having similar socio-economic background.Since these potters are supporting Delhi to maintain greenery to a large extent, by producing pots which are being used, by Civic Authority to grow plants, and also being used by every household of Delhi, thus reducing carbon dioxide and increasing the oxygen level in the air to a large extent and making environment friendly products, it is important to support them in every possible way.
What started as a cross country cultural exchange project and a demonstration of Indian pottery items to encourage young people to appreciate artisans’ way of life and also to create environment awareness at a tiny village in Australia, near Tallarook, has now found its way to many homes in remote locations, in tiny little villages near Seymour, 51 miles off Melbourne in Australia. These Matkas (earthen water containers), made by these Indian potters, are quite a popular item as these encourage energy efficiency via reducing the uses of refrigerator and create environmental awareness. The matkas, used for storing water, could increasingly become a substitute for refrigerators in these country sides of Australia.
With the world showing huge concerns over climate change and demanding immediate mitigating measures, it is a wonder to a great extent that a neglected art can contribute by way of traditional conservation and ecological protection. In Australia a matka, made by these Indian potters, are being sold for 30-40 Aus. dollars which is easily more than 80 times than what it sells in India. One can easily derive the popularity from this figure. These Indian potters, though a very small in number, at the end of the day gain a learning hands-on experience and find a brilliant way to make some extra earning apart from the routine activities. These earnings raise hope in them to construct better designed housing cum work-shed and meeting other immediate larger needs. A recent exhibition at Gurgaon Epicentre, organized by the India Habitat Centre, during Diwali festival gave opportunity to three potters’ families from this village to add on income for future security with the support of the Foundation
The Foundation has also been organizing regular medical camps in this area to bring medical support at the door steps of these potters. One of such medical camps will be organised soon by the Foundation to provide all round medical help to these potters.
These achievements of the Foundation mark the beginning of an all round development of the potter community in a holistic manner that could make a way for finer settlement of these artisans with dignity and honour. These potters’ families, who came from surrounding States and making Delhi their home and pottery their only living, could contribute in reducing climate change and eventually protect this city from further environmental hazards and reduce ecological destruction if provided with direction and opportunity.
Initiative For Development of Pottery