Ancient pottery provides livelihood to WJH villagers

JOWAI: The art of making clay pottery is still the main source of livelihood for many households in the two West Jaintia Hills villages of Larnai and Tyrchang, situated at a distance of around 7 kms from the NH-44 diversion from Ummulong village.
The art which originated hundreds of years ago in the hills trickled down to the villagers through their forefathers and is mostly practiced by women.
‘Khiew Ranei’ or the making of earthen pottery serves as one of the biggest source of income for these villagers.
It is Larnai village which initially started the trade and recently Tyrchang joined in to meet the demand for the clay products.
An artisan Pelina Pyrtuh informed that these clay products were sold to traders who came from various parts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Potteries were also traded to other parts of the country and went as far as Mumbai and beyond.
In Jaintia Hills the pottery was used for baking Pu-tha-ro (local rice bread) besides other rice breads.
These clay products are also used for rituals. The Dolloi of Nartiang- a village which performs Durga Puja every year, orders these products for various rituals.
An employee of the Meghalaya Basin Development Agency (MBDA), Willhemson Shylla said, “This is a source of livelihood of the people in these two villages and special attention of the state government is needed”.
Thadlaskein EFC, Larry Nongtdu  said that the villagers have paid more attention to the art of pottery making and the government should recognize this art of the villagers and help them promote their activities.
Social activist HH Mohrmen, who is also the president of Society for Urban and Rural Empowerment (SURE), said, “The residents of the two villages need proper marketing, training for manufacturing and packaging. These products can be sold even in the international market via Internet.”
It may be mentioned that there are two types of clay used for making these potteries. The clay is available only from the popular Sung Valley of West Jaintia Hills.

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