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  • Rashmeet Kaur
  • Editorial, 07 Mar 2022, 15:08 IST

Meet Leela Bordia: Queen Of Jaipur’s Blue Pottery Who Changed The Lives Of Hundreds

Leela Bordia is the founder of Neerja International who reinstated the art of Blue Pottery by producing original yet traditional designs.
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  • Rashmeet Kaur
  • Editorial, 07 Mar 2022, 15:08 IST
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Whenever we hear the name of the pink city ‘Jaipur’, the first thing that comes to our mind is Blue Pottery, right? And when we start talking about Blue Pottery, we certainly can’t refrain from mentioning Leela Bordia’s name.

To those who don’t know, Leela Bordia is an entrepreneur who is known for reviving the Blue Pottery of Jaipur and has played a great role in introducing this art to the world. 

It is believed that blue pottery came to the pink city in the early 19th century. How? The Maharaja of Jaipur Sawai Ram Singh II set up the School of Art in the city and encouraged artists from all over the country to come and settle there. 

But with passing years, the art form was vanishing from the pink city until Leela Bordia thought of reinstating the glory and stature of the art form.

The Motivation Factor

Leela Bordia was born in the year 1950 in Calcutta. She believes that her selfless and thoughtful endeavors are the results of visiting Mother Teresa’s institutions in her childhood where she used to meet the poor and needy people. 

Those visits had a lasting effect on her, which further, grew the love for Social Work in her.

The Resurrection Journey Of Blue Pottery

leela bordia with craftsmen

Image Courtesy: Leela Bordia/Instagram

After graduating, Leela got married and came to Jaipur (Jaipur Beyond Forts And Palaces) where her Engineer husband Kamal Bordia was settled. 

This story of Blue Pottery resurrection started when she happened to visit the local villages around the city and noticed the beautiful work of some craftsmen who were making blue pottery. She was instantly attracted to the vibrancy and feel of the traditional Blue Pottery merchandise on display.

However, she observed that lack of employment was a major concern in those villages. Also, the craftsmen had no means of marketing their products, so she decided to move into this field.

During the year 1978, Leela Bordia started engaging in social welfare activities in the villages in and around the Jaipur district of Rajasthan. Then, two years later, she established Neerja International which is an exclusive platform to showcase and sell blue pottery. 

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All About Neerja International

jaipur blue pottery  leela bordia

Image Courtesy: Leela Bordia/Instagram

Leela Bordia started Neerja International with the objective of doing good for the Blue Pottery craftsmen by helping them in marketing and promoting their craft items.

Not only she has helped the artisans over the years but has also brought big changes to the design space. When earlier, Blue Pottery items only consisted of big vases, pots, and other heavy items. Her foundation brought forward beauty and intricacy of the art in basic things like doorknobs, beads, candle stands, lanterns, coasters, perfume bottles, and so on. 

They have also brought more colours to blue pottery and today you can purchase yellow, black, green, and various other tones in this artwork. Isn’t this amazing?

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Changing The Lives Of The Craftsmen

leela bordia receiving awards

Image Courtesy: Leela Bordia/Instagram

Today, Neerja International has won many State, National, and International awards but still, Leela Bordia believes that her major achievement has been that she has been able to sustain her craftsman's vision and provided them a good livelihood.

She proudly says, “I never chose blue pottery, it chose me.” Definitely, her efforts have breathed life into the dying craft while changing the fortunes of hundreds of villagers and even during the peak of the pandemic.

The Foundation has sold more than 500 pottery designs crafted by 1,000 artisans, both online and offline, to date.

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