The potters in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj have begun making eco-friendly earthen lamps (diyas) ahead of Deepawali, the festival of lights.Diyas are oil lamps that are lit during the festival of Deepawali. They are made from clay and are shaped by pressing a thumb into a ball of clay.
Speaking to the media about the preparations for Deepawali celebrations, Raj Kumar, a potter, said, “We usually do not have much work for about 10 months of the year, but we spend 2 months with the whole family making earthen lamps and idols of gods and goddesses for Deepawali.”
Raj Kumar further said that the arrival of Chinese idols in the market does not make any significant difference to their work. However, the potters face some issues due to the shortage of soil used in the making of the lamps.
Earlier, they used to get the soil for making lamps from rivers, but now they are not allowed to do so due to restrictions; hence, they have to purchase soil for Rs 6 to 7 thousand per tractor.
At present, people’s inclination towards traditional ritualistic preparations has increased, due to which the demand for earthen lamps has remained constant, said Raj Kumar.
The families engaged in this work are trying their best to take advantage of the opportunity. However, some of them are also worried about soil shortages and low profits, he added.
Another potter, Rajesh Prajapati, said, “We supply diyas to various people. It is laborious work. A lot of hard work goes into it. Chinese items are made from machines, but here we prepare the clay. It’s challenging to find the best clay for diyas.”
Rajesh Prajapati further said that they are hopeful of doing good business as people have started to return to the tradition of celebrating Deepawali with earthen lamps. The lamps lit on Deepawali symbolise hope, positivity, and the victory of good over evil.
Earlier, stressing that purchase of local goods from small shopkeepers and street vendors should be our priority on festivals, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the 106th edition of his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat, said that this ‘spirit of vocal for local’ is just beginning and should not be limited to festive shopping.
Deepawali is the Hindu festival of lights, with its variations also celebrated in other Indian religions. It symbolises the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.
Deepawali is observed on Amavasya (or the new moon), the 15th day of the month of Kartik, every year. This year, Deepawali will be celebrated on November 12.
(with inputs from ANI)