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Machihan Sasa : Nungbi potter honoured with Padma Shri
- January 27 2024 : Government of India -

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 Machihan Sasa : Nungbi potter honoured with Padma Shri
Machihan Sasa : Nungbi potter honoured with Padma Shri :: Pix - TSE



From The Sangai Express / Mungchan Zimik / PTI - January 28 2024

Machihan Sasa, a renowned Tangkhul craftsman who promotes and preserves the ancient art of making Nungbi Ham (a black clay pot) has brought laurels to the Tangkhul community as he was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri by the Government of India. Speaking to this correspondent, Machihan said that he was delighted to see his name included in the list of Padma Shri award winners.

He thanked the Government for honouring him with the prestigious award and making his dream come true. Born on April 10, 1950 at Longpi Kajui village in Ukhrul district, Machihan learnt the art of pottery from his father late Kuishim. Machihan started making clay pots from 1970 onwards when he was 20 .

The 74-year-old said he has dedicated more than five decades to preserving the art of black pottery. The All-India Handicraft Week held in Ukhrul in 1979 was the first exhibition he participated in, after which he began attending various district and State level programmes and received recognitions for his creative design in pottery.

He has won several State and National awards including the prestigious Shilp Guru Award in 2008 . It might be mentioned that Guru Rewben Ma-shangva, popularly known as the father of Naga folk blues from Ukhrul was also conferred the Padma Shri award in 2021 . Machihan has also conducted the Apprentice Training Scheme under the Ministry of Textiles in New Delhi.

Saying that he has trained many locals in the art of clay pot making to keep the tradition alive, Machihan maintained that he can make at least 20 different clay articles such as pot, mug, kettle, water container, vase, plate, pressure cooker and other decorative items. Machihan Sasa has two sons and one daughter.

"I have trained some 70 youths of which four/five have received State-level awards. However, my greatest regret is not being able to teach more due to the economic hardship," Sasa told PTI through his personal secretary Themreichan Sharon. "I would like to train the unemployed youths as long as I have strength.

My only dream now is to train them with a full set of infrastructure as well as to establish a museum at my place to display all types of pottery items so that the legacy of black pottery can be passed down to generation after generation" Sasa said.

Talking about the much-needed unique clay which goes on to make the signature Longpi black pottery, Sasa, a resident of Longpi Kajui in Ukhrul district, said in earlier days, the clay was taken freely from a place called Salah at Nungbi Khullen village but these days with rising demands and commercialisation, the clay has to be purchased at Rs 700 per tin.

He said it is a "risky task" to get the clay during the rainy season. "How much we earn depends on the number of demands we receive. During the right season, we could earn around Rs 75,000, however, the income during the rainy season would be none" Sasa said. The finished potteries are sold at Dilli Haat, in district towns and occasionally at Imphal.

"Potteries in Manipur are not made with a potter's wheel like in other parts of the country. Instead, the special clay mixed with black rock is moulded into a desired shape with the help of a wooden hammer and a polished stone", he said, adding "It is a laborious task" . The popularity of Longpi black pottery has gone up in the last two decades.

There is a general belief that the taste of foods especially meats is enhanced if cooked in this black earthenware.


* This information was published in The Sangai Express - January 28 2024
This article was webcasted on January 28 2024 .



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