Once famous for its traditional pottery, Ulipur of Kurigram district is now gradually losing the age-old craftsmanship to modern-day industrial production most of which are replacing clay-ware goods.
Pottery business, handed down from generations in the upazila, is facing extinction as cheaper aluminium, metal and plastic wares are preferred losing interest in the art of clay ware.
The demand of pottery goods have decreased drastically not only from the towns and cities but also from the rural areas. As a result, people involved with the traditional pottery business are also apprehending loss of their business.
According to local sources, Shyampur village under Hatiya union of Ulipur was well known as Kumarpara - a village for potters. But, most of the people of the village over time have now switched to other professions. Many are still making the traditional pottery hoping to survive on small demands.
Sources said that, even in the recent past, most people used earthen pots and utensils to cook their foods and for many other family purposes. Almost every villagers used earthen pitchers, pots, cooking pots, korai, mortar and pestles, large pots (chari), small banks ( covered pot) for preserving money, kola, Jhajhar and rounded earthen pots to make well (kua).
However, with new technology and arrival of cheaper products housewives are usually reluctant to use the earthen pots and earthen wares.
Instead, they are mostly habituated to using cheaper aluminium, steel and other metal made cooking wares. Melamine, plastic, glass and China clay utensils are also very popular.
As a result, demand of pottery goods or earthen utensils have drastically fell and the traditional pottery industry is on the verge of extinction. Moreover, scarcity of the fine sticky clay, exorbitant price of fire wood used for making pottery goods are forcing the potters to abandon their ancestral profession.
Nripendranath Paul, Bijoy Chandra Paul, Harish Chandra Paul, Hari Charan Paul and Panchananda Paul of village Shyampur Kumarpara belong to the traditional pottery families. They said they are facing hardship and are no longer able to continue the business.
Once the local markets were said to be flooded with the various items of pottery goods. In addition to pottery goods, they used to make various toys for children and fancy
goods for decorating houses - all made of clay.
Now-a-days, those toys and fancy goods are not made using the traditional clay. Due to the decrease in demand and the lack of patronization, potters of the village are facing acute crisis and they are being forced to abandon their profession.
They urged the government to save their ancestral business and keep alive the traditional pottery industry.
Jahangir Alam, Deputy Manager of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation, of Kurigram said that he would prepare a list of the local craftsmen involved in the pottery business and would try to assist them.