From Kutch’s Rogan painting to Khurja’s ceramic-wares, we have captured the attention and imagination of the world with the sheer diversity and intricacy of what a set of hands can produce out of things that seem ordinary. However, times have changed. We no longer have to wait a great deal of time to get anything. But we must ask if this is the age of speedy delivery or the era of compromised quality?
The handmade ceramics of Khurja are losing to machine-made ones which are mass-produced, distributed in bulk, and often falsely labeled ‘authentic’ and ‘handmade’ to attract more buyers. Now the skyline of the city is invaded by the numerous chimneys of the factories, the machines inside producing out bulk over bulk of wares, while the people are forced to find other works to meet their expenses, unable to practice their craft and unable to pass it down to the next generation. This is how the beautiful tradition of Khurja pottery is becoming entirely mechanised. We are partly to blame as we continuously choose to buy the inauthentic versions. But what else can be done when we see no other alternative? This is where government initiative is needed. Awareness must be raised regarding the history and heritage of the tradition, more fairs should be organized and the factories must be regulated, the government must make sure that the people who made this craft possible should not be deprived of their due. Khoj is one such attempt at bringing justice to them and their immense talent.
The warm colours on the ceramics, the gentle sheen of glaze, the soft blue over the cream white background is a joy to behold, a heritage that has seduced art-lovers across nations. Its tradition is in need of promotion as well as protection and Khoj is doing its bit to deliver both.