Leela Bordia Revived Jaipur Blue Pottery and Changed the Lives of Hundreds

Leela Bordia, the founder of Neerja International, revived Jaipur Blue Pottery and provided a living for thousands of artisans

“I did not choose Blue Pottery. It chose me,“says Leela Bordia. Leela Bordia always wanted to help people in need. In 1976 she made a trip to Jaipur to a village of artisans. She was shocked to see the poor living conditions of the artisans despite their brilliant work in blue pottery. She wanted to revive the demand for pottery and hence founded Neerja International for the artisans to showcase and sell their blue pottery work.

Even long before the pandemic, she encouraged the artisans to work from the comforts of their own homes. She convinced them to stop migrating to cities and stay where they are to work. To enable this, she set up self-reliant production units in their village, thus also preserving their culture and time with the family.

Next, Leela encouraged the potters to innovate in blue pottery and make everyday utility products that can have real-life applications. They were sold along with artistic masterpieces. But these everyday designs helped the artisans build a market that covered a wide range of customers.

Today Neerja International works with thousands of artisans and gives them a lifeline. They work with about 500 designs of blue pottery variations. Because of this venture, the artisans did not go hungry even in the middle of the pandemic. They continued to get online orders and hence sustained their lifestyle even in the lockdown.

Leela Bordia’s work has been included by the NCERT in their syllabus on Entrepreneurship. We commend her work and efforts and hope that India finds many more Entrepreneurs like her. 

-Staff Reporter

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