SAMBALPUR:At a time when new generation repulses the very idea of carrying on family legacy with career opportunities going up by leaps and bounds, a young man of Sambalpur City also charted a course of his own. But he did not give up the family craft and instead diversified it in keeping with the tune of present day market.
Biswa Rana of Badbazaar in the city was born to a potter family. His father used to meet both the ends by making traditional pottery items.
After Biswa completed Plus Two, his parents wanted him to join his father in taking ahead their traditional occupation but he was interested in pursuing creative work. He, however, joined the trade after a workshop for rural artisans at Regional Research Laboratory at Bhubaneswar in 1998 exposed him to limitless world of terracotta.
After returning from Bhubaneswar, he made terracotta items but those lacked the right look. Biswa then attended two successive workshops, organised by National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, on product development, diversification and craft design which changed his world and since then he has not looked back.
Today, Biswa (35) moulds fascinating items with a touch of his creativity. To add zing to the products, he uses various hues of enamel paint. As a result, the family business, which was once confined to a few villages, has spread far and wide creating a large clientele.
Biswa said he moulds anything in demand including decorative elephants, horses, vases, idols of Lord Ganesha and Buddha. The products are priced between Rs 10 and Rs 1,500 to promote their use among all sections of the society. He said he has diversified his business to make cups and saucers and even got a bulk order to make terracotta plates inscribed with the names of the bride and groom to be used during a marriage reception.
Stressing that Pallishree Mela organised by Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society is the only platform where he sells his products, Biswa said he ensures that he attends all the Pallishree Melas organised across the State.
Now, Biswa’s younger brothers Ramakrushna (28) and Balaram (25) assist him, who have picked up the nuance of terracotta from him. Together, they save about Rs four lakh per annum after deducting all expenses.
Although Biswa is satisfied and has a word of praise for Government support, his only complaint is absence of good quality of clay which they have to get from neighbouring Bargarh district.