River & livelihoods
The manifestation of flood in Assam has been a perennial occurrence in Brahmaputra valley and it has been a boon and sorrow for the community at the same time. The potter community ‘Kumars’ from Salmora (Majuli) this artistry has been the mainstay of the livelihood and income. The men from sail to Sadia, Tezpur, Lakhimpur districts and other neighbouring districts to sell the pots on their country made boats.
However, due to the rapid flood and riverbank erosion, it has been continuously eroding/washing away the ‘Kumar matti’ shown in the first and second pictures used by the potters, challenging their traditional livelihood. Kumar community from both 'Dakhinpat Kumar Gaon' and 'Salmora' has been suffering due to soil erosion. It also affects the women potters’ source of income. As seen in the first picture this type of clay is obtained from clay pits from about twenty-five to thirty feet depth near the river banks and the sources for this clay is becoming limited.
Largely, this clay can be procured from riverbanks, which is constantly eroding. Over the years the traditional potters are forced to use sand or inferior quality soil (a type of soil locally called ‘Lodha-maati’) this not only gives the pots a low-quality finish but also potters get less price for such pots.