Tiruchirapalli

The potters’ wheel plods during the lockdown

Summer is usually a good period for potters as people purchase earthen pots to store water. However, due to the lockdown there has been almost nil sales.

Summer is usually a good period for potters as people purchase earthen pots to store water. However, due to the lockdown there has been almost nil sales.   | Photo Credit: M_Moorthy

‘We are now fully dependent on donors who bring us food’

As many as 30 families who depend on making and selling pots for a living have been finding it tough during the lockdown. The potters lament that the government, too, has not extended a helping hand.

“It is sad that a vocation extolled by our forefathers does not even help me get one square meal a day,” says M. Inbarasu, a potter living in Thiruvanaikoil. At least 100 potters used to live on the same street but now, the number has reduced to about 30 families, he says. “There are only three or four of us who make pots the traditional way. While some have moved to making earthen lamps for Diwali, most others have shifted to construction work,” he says.

At least 30 pots remain unbaked, and two large tandoori ovens stand unused in front of Mr. Inbarasu’s small work shed. “The ovens were to be delivered to a restaurant in Perambalur in March. I did not get the money for it, and now, I think I’ll just have to make rotis in it because nobody will buy it from me,” he rues.

Even as he narrates his story, a minivan stops at the end of the street and honks. Ladies step out of their houses with vessels and a man serves them tamarind rice. “We are now fully dependent on donors who bring us food like this. We have no choice, do we?” he asks.

Mr. Inbarasu, and some others too, have dropped off their children at relatives’ houses so that they do not starve here.

The summer season would usually be a good period of sales for potters as people purchase earthen pots to store water. However, with the lockdown in effect, not even a single pot has been sold since March, Mr. Inbarasu’s wife says. “The government has not even helped us for a single day. When they promote cooking with earthenware, why can’t they help us survive?” she ask.

“The government needs to create platforms to showcase our work and create awareness,” said R. Muthu, another potter. “This skill needs to be introduced and promoted in colleges to attract youth.”

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 6:43:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/the-potters-wheel-plods-during-the-lockdown/article31608852.ece

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