•Pottery is defined here as a hereditary caste occupation is being practiced by a significant population among Kumbhar community. However, Kumbhar community here is referred to a group larger than the traditional caste based potter’s because pottery as an economic activity today supports the livelihood of a far greater section including idol-makers and idol-painters than traditional pottery. While all the potter families in Pottery town do not strictly belong to Kumbhar cast. Similarly all the traditional potter families do not practice idol-making as a full time occupation.
Hence, it is necessary to also see the reasons of other caste individuals getting involved in this occupation. Thus, to understand the economy of potter’s…..•The present population of potter’s includes not only the hereditary groups but also artists, individuals from other castes.
Therefore, pottery town population can be divided into main groups – the master potter’s, idol-maker’s, idol-painters, market retailer, •1. The Master Potter’s – who are traditional hereditary potters, who have•migrated from Alangayam, Vellore, Tamil Naidu known as Kumbhars. From generations practising pottery.•2. The Idol-maker’s – Mostly belonging to the potters’ caste, initially worked as potter’s now shifted to idol-making, along with other miscellaneous pottery products.•3. Numerous small artisans, who are not necessarily from potter caste but from other lower caste groups, contain semi-skilled and skilled craftsmen who have a small scale of business or working with master craftsmen. •The small artisans of sub-urban and rural areas migrated to pottery town, consists a variety of caste groups and individuals who have learnt the art from their own interest and might never have belonged to any artisan caste.
The entire industry is supported through the labourers, wageworkers who are engaged in the various stages of production. •The twin concept of ‘caste’ and ‘closed group’ do not strictly exist among the artisans in pottery town, despite being a hereditary in nature the entry to this occupation is relatively open. The traditional title of ‘Kumbhar’ serves an important function of identification and authenticity of the craftsmen for the ordinary consumers, which also means that the association of a definite caste group to a particular hereditary occupation still plays a strong in the minds of the general population. Thus, though it seems that both, the consumers and the potters are not much bothered by the ideas of purity and pollution, the reality might be quite different.