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कुम्हार Potters Recaste


a radio feature produced by Michael Shirrefs

Kumhaargram potter Dharmveer

An enduring collaboration between Indian and Australian potters is featured on Creative Instinct this week.


Michael Shirrefs is on a journey to the outskirts of Delhi, to enter a labyrinthine series of pottery colonies.


In a city of more than 16 million people, the need for functional and ceremonial ceramic objects is endless. But being a potter, or Kumhar, in India is not a choice. In a world of traditional hierarchies and castes which dictate the lives of millions of individuals, families and communities, it’s a life that you’re born into.


However, in a modern India, this sort of collective fatalism is being questioned. The word ‘caste’ is increasingly out of favour, and things are changing … slowly.

Michael Shirrefs is heading to an area called Vikas Nagar—off the main drag, and into the narrow, dusty, unmarked streets—to find a potters’ colony called Kumhaargram.


It’s an endless chaos of auto-rickshaws and trucks and people and cows and dogs, and he’s looking for one person in particular—an Australian potter called Sandra Bowkett.

Kumhaargram potter Minhori

Listen to the program here …

Creative Instinctकुम्हार Potters Re-Caste

Sandra Bowkett

Deep Chand


Vineeta Singh

Ann Ferguson

Minhori Lal



Michael Shirrefs, Producer

John Jacobs, Sound Engineer

© 2012, Michael Shirrefs & ABC RN

Filed under: radio features, works