Mangaluru, Oct 29,2016: Potters are definitely a disappearing breed, the constantly increasing demand for ‘hanathe’ (earthen lamp) and other earthen products have only added to the workload of Rajesh, his family and relatives at Subraya Compound behind Urva Marigudi.
As Deepavali, the festival of lights, approaches, the workload only increases on the members of these families who have migrated from Andhra Pradesh about eight centuries ago. About four families at Subraya Compound and another four five elsewhere in Mangaluru continue to be in pottery, Rajesh told media .
On an average, his family produces about 50,000 earthen lamps a year, of which about 20,000 would be for Deepavali season alone. “There is demand not just from Mangaluru, but also from Udupi, Mysuru and Madikeri for earthen lamps. Only a handful of traders, one in front of Town Hall, another on Market Road and one on Bhavanthi Street, sell the lamps in Mangaluru while many enthusiasts buy them from pottery,” Rajesh said.
They procure the clay soil required for earthen cutlery from areas around Polali, Kinnigoli and Pakshikere. The work is labour intensive, Rajesh said even as he continued to crush the red soil for packing earthen lamps kept for baking on the traditional oven. At the same time, the reward too is decent enabling potters to lead a content life, he added.
Along with lamps, the potters also prepare ‘kumbha’, ‘kalasha’ and other small earthen utensils during the rest of the year. Temples in the region largely take all these products including lamps, he said.
Besides pottery, the families are also involved in the management of Urva Marigudi, he added. Among them, family members still speak in Telugu while they converse with local people in Tulu and Kannada.