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Mandar Rana – A magician of terracotta in Odisha


Bhubaneswar: Like a piece of art is timeless, sculpture and terracotta items never fade away its praise and charm in the course of time. A man invents many things out of his necessities, but beautiful idols and utensils made of clay are the true identity of Odisha’s rich culture.

Mandar Rana, a distinguished personality in field of earthenware and terracotta, gives the mud and clay a shape and getting touch of his palm, an item becomes lively. He can be called a magician of terracotta. The technique through which he makes earthenware and other items astonishes everyone.

Even at the age of 81 years, Mandar’s passion gives life in the clay. Being connected with soil, he has proved his potentialities in field of handicrafts whereas the youngsters never show their willingness to remain stick to their occupation. This is the spirit for which he has received awards from 107 organisations both government and private.

He has set an example by setting up a factory for earthenware and appointing 11 artisans.

Mandar had started giving a shape of his dream sitting at the pottery workshop since his childhood at age of only 16. Earlier, his dreams were confined to only pots and pitchers. On the suggestion of Mahendra Patnaik of Malipada, on city’s outskirts, he established a cooperative society for pottery comprising of 11 members in 1980. Later, he stepped into terracotta works. It expanded the path for him for earning much in life.

Mandar was hailed for his terracotta items including idols of deities, animals and dancers placed in five star hotels, be it in Oberoi in Mumbai or Mayfair and Swosti Premium and shopping malls in Bhubaneswar. He received applause from Governor SC Jamir and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his works.

Mandar had drawn the attention in national level by making clay fridge and water filter.

The expert in earthen products is now busy in making varieties of diyas for the upcoming Diwali. At times, he earns over Rs 1.50 lakh by selling clay diays during the festival.

“Even if somebody asks me to make a clay man, I can do it. The irony is the Kumbhar community is not interested to continue their occupation. Even today, I always invite people to work with me and earn Rs 10,000 per month, but they hesitate to accept my proposal,” Mandar said.