Teracotta pottery is one of the oldest crafts in the world. India is home to thousands of skilled artisans who create beautiful terracotta masterpieces over generations. But the talented potters who proudly carried forward their heritage, today, have no choice but to leave their profession and abandon their family heirloom. Ganga Sahay, a potter from Moliya in Rajasthan said, “My pots which were once in demand, now remain idle collecting dust. I watch people shopping for plastic utensils. This makes me sad and question my choice to become a potter.” Hearing their pleas for help and recognising the value of their heritage, students of Shri Ram College of Commerce started an initiative named Rivaayat to help artisans revive this dying artform. You too can be part of this, here’s how.
Students Of Shri Ram College of Commerce Save Dying Artform
The students of Shri Ram College of Commerce came across many artisans near their college, who sold beautiful pots and diyas made of clay. Their interactions with the artisans led them to visit one of India’s oldest and largest pottery hubs, Kumhar colony in Uttam Nagar, Delhi. This locality is home to over 600 families of potters. The students researched about the ancient art form, interacted with craftsmen, conducted on-ground surveys to identify and understand their problems. Despite their skills and talent, many potters were struggling to make ends meet. Most of them were unsure about their future and slowly planned to leave their family profession and abandon their heritage.
National award-winning artisans, who represented India on various international platforms were selling street food to sustain themselves. That was the final nail in the coffin. In a technologically advanced marketing world, the artisans fell behind in creating a lack of demand and recognition for their artwork. That’s when the students of Shri Ram College of Commerce decided to step up and support the artisans in the revival of their heritage. This gave birth to the social initiative, Rivaayat, that empowers artisans, by making them entrepreneurs and sustaining the dying artform of terracotta pottery.
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The Birth Of Rivaayat: Turning Artisans Into Entrepreneurs
Rivaayat connects artisans directly with the consumers to prevent artforms from fading into oblivion. The social initiative by the students aims to create a community of craftspersons that can lead to change in society. By incorporating contemporary designs, there’s a perfect blend of both modernity and tradition in their offerings. Artisans are transformed into entrepreneurs, giving birth to holistic empowerment. This is not just limited to providing them with a livelihood but igniting their passion for the ancient art form, making them self sustainable. Rivaayat curates a stable demand chain for these artisans.
This platform provides a sustainable livelihood to 17 skilled artisans from 3 different states, creating room for new artisans to be adopted in the future. Rivaayat provides environmentally-friendly products that are 100% biodegradable. Numerous problems faced by potters like lack of technical knowledge and inability to create demand have been solved by this initiative. Potters are taught to proper packaging, shipping, marketing and managing social media handles, making them 100 per cent independent. This social initiative is currently operational with partnerships in 4 countries. National awardees mentor artisans. Rivayaat fulfils its social responsibility of providing environmentally free products at the same time keeps the legacy of Indian handicrafts alive.
Making A Difference In The Lives Of Hundreds Of Potters
Ganga Sahay, the potter from Moliya in Rajasthan who earlier wondered if it was better to leave his profession, has restarted his journey with the help of Rivayaat. Like Ganga, many other potters have reinstalled their lost faith in terracotta pottery thanks to this social initiative started by students, yearning to make a difference. National award-winning artisan, Shri Giriraj Prasad admits that he has been facing a lot of challenges in his journey to stay true to the ancient art form. But what matters the most for him, is his love and passion for it. Shri Giriraj Prasad’s son, Bhuvnesh Kumar quips that the beauty of this art not only lies in the artefacts but in the hearts of the potters who’ve invested their patience, determination and affection in shaping them.
Gajraj Singh, a state awardee potter from Haryana says, “I’ve been practising this craft since I was a child, I still remember my grandfather at the potter’s wheel and the days I started learning from him. This art form is very close to my heart and now when there is a new ray of hope I want my sons and my future generations to carry on this legacy with full passion.” Seeing their potters happy and satisfied with their skills and potential finally being recognised, Rivayaat continues to make a difference in hundreds of lives.
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How Can You Purchase Terracotta Products From Rivaayat?
You too can do your bit to keep this ancient art form alive and kicking. It’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has created a huge dent in the already dried up handicrafts industry. most artisans are helpless. As Rivayaat continues to work tirelessly to avoid a standstill amid lockdowns, you can purchase exquisite environmentally friendly handmade terracotta products from their website. From a durable Biryani Handi, Clay Curd Setter, intricate Double Baked Lantern to a Miniature Set of pots, you’d find everything here for cooking or home decor.
An ancient art form that lasted thousands of years shouldn’t evaporate into nothingness. It should be celebrated, cherished and its artisans must be respected and given their due. So, do shop online for these stunning sustainable terracotta crafts and help the team of Rivaayat make this world a more beautiful place.