Earthen Problems by Rakesh Prasad Chaudhary

Photo: Rakesh Prasad Chaudhary/

EARTHEN PROBLEMS: Sobha Pandit, 60, runs a family business selling clay pots and bamboo baskets. She belongs to the Kumhar community in Jaleshwor, and the upcoming Hindu festival Teej is an important one for her business. Teej and Chauthi-Chand festivals celebrated in Mithilanchal are not complete without yoghurt set in the clay pots that Pandit’s community makes. But the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown has hit Pandit’s business hard.

These small and big clay pots are sold at Rs 20 and Rs 40 each. Earlier, 20 families in Jaleswar Bajar used to sell their clay goods on Mondays and Thursday. That stopped due to the lockdown. Pandit also has not been able to open her shop properly . “I was ready to deliver them home to those who had placed an order, but now I cannot even do that because various neighbourhoods are being sealed,” says Pandit.

According to the 2011 Nepal census, there are 62,399 members of the Kumhar community in Nepal. Pandit worries that the art of making clay pots is disappearing, “The young ones in our community are not interested in continuing the community’s pottery-making tradition, and we have to compete with reusable cheap plastic wares,” says Pandit, “How will this tradition survive?”

Photos and Text: Rakesh Prasad Chaudhary @rakeshsenior

Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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