Saturday, December 9, 2023

Of the lost lamps and the twinkling memories of traditional Deepawali

Sakshi Singh
Jamshedpur, Oct. 29
: It is the time of the year again, when we need to spruce up our house, make it bright and colourful.

Diwali is here and the craze for this festival of light is evident from the fact that the streets and the shops are already overflowing with people as they make their last moment preparations for the festival.

Diwali coincides with the darkest new moon night of the month of Kartika as per Hindu calendar and thus it has been a tradition, since time immemorial that its celebration includes decorating our house with lights.

Millions of earthen lamps adoring the housetops, door and windows of every house were a usual sight in every other street. But, since last few years, a good many people prefer celebrating Diwali by lighting electric lights and lamps. As a result, the tradition of lighting earthen diyas seems to be slowly fading away.

The production and marketing of these earthen lamps and other such earthen substances had long been the traditional profession for many in India, who support their families with the income secured from this very trade.

These people who earlier use to enjoy a huge market for their trade are now feeling the sharp stings as the Chinese lights and crackers flood into the retail market.

Bapi Pal, is a resident of Kashidih, his family had been engaged in this profession of making earthen lamps for many years.

He says that he had learned this art from his father, who acquired it from his father. The earthen lamps that Pal makes had long been lighting the houses of many in and around Jamshedpur.

But Pal feels that since past few years the market for these lamps has fallen sharply, being much affected by the new Chinese bulbs, lights and other decorative items.

The demand for new variety of electric bulbs seems to be on the rise. Due to their attractive designs and their wide variety they attract a large number of customers.

The customers feel that these bulbs are attractive yet affordable and easy to use and hence this is the reason behind their growing popularity.

Having said this, there are still some customers out there who prefer to buy the same old earthen diyas, such as Praveen Kumar Singh of Kadma.

When asked why not the Chinese electric lights he said that he does buy them but never forgets to buy the earthen lamps as well, as it is a legacy that has long been followed in his family.

He feels that until his roof tops and doorsteps are decorated with bunch of lamps Diwali doesn�t seem like Diwali to him. For the potters and the shopkeepers of the earthen lamps such customers are the only ray of light.

However, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s insistence on �Make in India�, to buy the earthen lamps and diyas from the street sellers and road side shopkeepers the potters are growing more hopeful this season.

They feel that the traditional art of making earthen diyas is witnessing a revival this year as people are getting more environment-friendly and are willing to illuminate their houses in a traditional manner.

Diwali is a festival that spiritually signifies the victory of good over bad, hope over despair, light over darkness.

Let�s hope that this Diwali, the bright light from the earthen lamps shines bright and brings happiness and prosperity to the lives of not just the privileged but also the poor.

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