Pots make way for mud stoves

Pots make way for mud stoves

With changing times, people have also changed their daily use articles. And due to the advancement in technology and the consequent arrival of modern gadgets in rural markets, the demand for the traditional products such as pots has taken a big hit. As a result, in North Karnataka, potters have shifted to making mud stoves to sustain their livelihood. If you visit the potter lanes of villages in districts such as Koppal, Gadag and Ballari, you will find neatly-lined rows of mud stoves.

Changing with the times

“The demand for pots declined when villagers started opting for plastic products. Today, even if we roam around an entire day trying to sell pottery products, we can’t make our ends meet. This has forced us to switch over to making mud stoves.

As a result, the tradition of pot making is slowly fading away,” lament potters Shantavva Bharamappa of Hanumansagar village and Fakirappa of Linganbandi village in Koppal district.

But in an age of gas stoves and other modern gadgets, why are these villagers still opting for mud stoves? It turns out mud stoves are the perfect options for their daily living. When villagers work in fields, preparing meals there is a lot more easier with mud stoves. Also, mud stoves are perfect for nomads, pilgrims, and they also ease the jobs of villagers during fairs, thus making this art stay relevant even today.

Consequently, there is a good demand for these mud stoves.

These mud stoves aren’t just traditional stoves. They are scientifically designed  and do not affect the health of both humans and the environment. For instance, in order to ensure a better supply of oxygen for combustion and to reduce smoke, two small holes are created on the upper side of the stove. Also, on the back side, two small depressions are made for fire to burn in full strength. “Two openings are made on the sides of the stoves, so that while food is being prepared on the main stove, you can boil pulses or make tea on these openings,” explains potter Sharanappa.

Since there is a high demand for mud stoves, potters are now using moulds to make them in large quantities. This has made the entire process a tad bit simpler for them.

A wet mud mixture is first poured into the mould, through which you get a raw mud stove. It is then taken out from the mould and left to dry. These stoves are dried in shade for 15 days and later burnt in a kiln. This whole process of making stoves takes about a month. Thereafter, they are transported to the market for sale.

In a family of four, around 50 stoves could be fabricated in a day. Earlier, these stoves were sold at Rs 40 a piece. But due to the increase in the cost of raw materials, they are sold at Rs 60-70 a piece now. The rising costs of mud, firewood, cost of transport, amongst other things don’t give these potters a great margin for profit. But these potters value the fact that these simple mud stoves take care of their daily meals, and are quite content with it.

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