The famed baked clay or ‘terracotta’ products made from the special soil found in Bhathat area of Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur district is all set to get the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Terracotta products are a major source of income for the residents of Aurangabad area in this district.
“The process of GI certification for terracotta products is underway. It will benefit the artists and those involved in its trade in national and oversees market,” Puja Srivastav, assistant commissioner commerce and trade, said. Terracotta was selected under the ‘One District One Product’ scheme of the Uttar Pradesh government and will soon get the GI tag.
Rajnikant of Human Welfare Organisation, who is assisting terracotta artisans to get the GI tag with the help of NABARD, said the news has brought hope among the poor artisans of Aurangabad. “After the work of many years, terracotta artists will get the recognition,” he said.
Terracotta artist Devideen Prajapati said, “I do not know since when our families are making terracotta products. We do not know anything except making these products. The government has started thinking about our art and we are very happy.”
Artist Nathuram from the Aurangabad area said, “The clay used in the terracotta products is ‘Kabis’ clay which is found in the ponds of Aurangabad, Bharwalia and Budhadih areas. Also, such clay is found only in the months of May and June, as for the rest of the year, the ponds are filled with water. We do not use any colour. We only dip the clay structure in a mixture of soda and mango tree barks, and bake it. The red colour of terracotta does not fade for years,” he said.
The terracotta artists make various structures like bells, vases, Ganeshas, tables, elephants, deer, horses, bullock carts, horse carts, lamps and chandeliers. Despite the richness of their art and numerous laurels, the artists live in penury as they often fail to get the right price for their products.
“People talk about us, take pictures and take interviews. But we do not get good prices for our products. With the GI certification, we hope things will get better,” said Sunil Prajapati, a 22-year-old artisan from Aurangab