SRI NAGAR: A Kashmiri Muslim potter, receiving his highest order ever, made 16,000 earthen lamps (diyas) for Diwali this year with much enthusiasm and passion. Mohammed Umar said that he received a bulk order of 16,000 diyas for this Diwali festive season. He said he had to work very hard to ensure that the diyas were supplied on time.
“My father, brother and I worked very hard for about a month to make the diyas. We were making about 500-600 diyas per day and completed the order well on time and these diyas were also dispatched to other states,” he said.
“We could not rush with making of diyas as this is an art and we never want to bring a bad name to our art by rushing with the manufacturing process,’’ he added. Hailing from Isbher, Nishat area of Srinagar, Umar said it gives him satisfaction that the Hindu brethren are celebrating Diwali this year by lighting their homes with the diyas made by him (a Muslim). He said that besides earning money, he has also contributed in strengthening communal harmony and bond by making diyas for Diwali. Diwali, the festival of lights, was celebrated today across the count ry wi th re l igious fervour. Umar said that he used to earlier make 500-700 diyas every year, but this year he received a bulk order.
He said, “Besides, I also made diyas for some other customers. I also used to sell diyas at my shop in Hazratbal area of Srinagar.” He said making each diya costs him between Rs 2 to 5, while it is sold in the market for Rs 5 to 10 per piece. Umar, who is a graduate, instead of looking for a government job wants to revive the dying art of pottery and glazed (decorative) pottery in the valley.
“Once upon a time, over 600 families in Kashmir were associated with this trade, but at present only a handful are engaged in pottery making,” he said. Umar said it is a tough challenge to revive the age-old craft, but he is determined in its revival and is not giving up. “There are some encouraging signs as demand for the pottery has increased,” he said.