• They Make the Diyas, But Their Homes Remain Dark on Diwali

    Arpita Singh & Midhat Fatimah

    October 20, 2017

    Kamla Deve is one of thousands of potters residing in a congested village Kumhar Gram, on the outskirts of Delhi. Living in a virtual shanty, Deve joins the 700 potter families living here to work day and night to meet the demands of Delhi for diyas, and other clay artefacts for Diwali.

    She came here in the early 1970’s from Rajasthan to beat poverty. But the years have been rough, and life difficult. Diwali brings some business, and the men, women and even children of Kumhar Gram work day and night to make the little earthen pots that then light up Delhi homes.

    The photographs below capture the penury, the hard work with the furnaces causing respiratory problems and taking a huge toll on health.

     

                                                                                                                   A potter preparing the clay

     

                                                                        The potter's work around the clock with their mud houses becoming workshops

     

      A dingy, congested workshop which produces around 300-400 pieces a day. Each piece sells for a ballpark figure of Rs 30 in the market.


     

    The village relies on burning furnaces that are adding to the respiratory problems. Kamla Devi and her son are impacted like all the rest.

     

                                                                        Everything during Diwali revolves around business. Daily chores take a backseat

     

    During Diwali, houses become workshops and women actively participate and contribute to the workforce to meet the market requirements

     

                                                                                                                     Taking a break

     

                                                           A women climbing the ladder up and down several times a day,to bring down the pottery

     

                                                                                                                                   No cheer


     

    First published in The Citizen.

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