Pottery is one of the oldest industries in the country. Potters make all kinds of products with their handicrafts and technical knowledge. In the evolution of time, the demand for pottery in Atrai of Naogaon has decreased. As a result, they are living in financial difficulties.
‘Mrit’ means soil and ‘art’ means any beautiful thing made by hand. This pottery speaks of the soil and people of the rural areas of the country. Even though the days are spent in the midst of the misery of the potters, the potters of Atrai area in Naogaon district still dream that one day the value of pottery will increase again. Standing on the banks of the small river Jamuna in Naogaon, Raipur and Bhabanipur, Palpara potters of Atrai upazila is like a golden picture painted by an artist. However, this traditional art is getting lost in the evolution of time. The industry is in crisis due to multi-faceted problems and lack of patronage. Even then, many still retain the ancestral tradition.
There are innumerable cottages in Raipur, Mirapur, Sahebganj, Bahla, Panchupur and other areas of Atrai Upazila. At one time these villages were very famous for pottery. Due to the triumph of science, development of technology and proliferation of new industrial materials and lack of necessary patronage and favorable market, this industry is on the verge of extinction today. Most of the potters living in different villages of the upazila belong to the Pala community. From ancient times, the pottery has been confined to a class society for religious and socio-economic reasons. Later, people from other communities took up pottery as a profession. Zinc, aluminum and plastic utensils have taken its place in the present market, as there is no demand for earthenware as before. As a result, sellers are not taking pottery with the same interest as before. Their needs depend on the buyers. That is why many old artists are being forced to change their profession.
With the change of era, pottery is losing its old tradition. As a result, it has become very difficult for those who are involved in this profession and whose only source of livelihood is pottery. Despite spending their days in the midst of misery, the potters of Atrai still dream that one day the value of pottery will increase again. On that day, happiness and peace may return to their family. In addition, they are still working day and night waiting for that good future.
Jitendranath Pal of Bhabanipur Palpara village of the upazila said, “We still hold on to this kind of business which we learned from our ancestors. At one time, there was a huge demand for pottery but now the pottery is facing a crisis due to multi-faceted problems and lack of patronage. Biplob Kumar Pal of Raipur village of the upazila said that as rivers and canals are flooded due to climate change, potters now have to spend a lot on soil collection. In addition, due to the increase in the price of fuel, they have to constantly count the losses due to mismatch with production and sales. Urgent steps are required to make timely utensils for pottery by training in art through modern training and to create a market for this product abroad.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Iktekharul Islam said it is possible to create a market for pottery abroad if the artists can be trained through modern training. Authorities will arrange training for the expansion of pottery by the upazila administration.