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Sweat Behind A Brighter Diwali


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Bhubaneswar: Lighting diyas on Diwali gives a traditional look to the festival. Markets are flooded with all varieties of diyas.

63-year-old Balaram Muduli has been working on his wheel for the past 40 years to give life to clay in form of pots and diyas.

Being in this potter’s profession, he barely manages to eke out a living but is happy to provide services which lights up other’s houses.

“Two persons working for 15 days manage to earn Rs.5000 after deducting the costs. It is just hand to mouth existence for us. The artefacts we make are very much in demand in Bhubaneswar, Khorda, Cuttack, and different parts of the State,” informs Muduli. “The government alos doesn’t lend a helping hand to us. It has turned a blind eye towards us or elso this industry could have boomed,” he lamented. Around 10 families of the potter’s clan live in this village, Basantapur in the outskirts of the capital cily near Dhauli.

“Our next generation is not interested in this profession as there are not enough earnings. The clay and firewood are also not readily available. Moreover, the electric and the metal diyas give a stiff competition to our products,” revealed 70-year-old Kailash Muduli who is in this profession since childhood.

“The whole family join hands to make pottery artefacts. We work from early in the morning for the whole day just to make a hand to mouth existence. The government should intervene and look into our woes,”said Fhagu Muduli, another potter of the village.

Take a stroll down the streets of the capital city and you find a series of shops selling all kinds of colourful, simple, unique earthen lamps at affordable prices.

With barely few days left for the festival of light, the increasing sale of diyas has been reflected in the markets.

Starting with the simple earthen baked diyas to colourful fancy diyas, all are properly exhibited in the market, trying t o woo the customers. The thought of buyers also seem to have changed to a major extent.

It is the time to follow the tradition of lighting diyas before Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesha and decorating of homes with lighted lamps, “These terracotta artefacts are too lovely to resist. People from various parts of the State have showcased their talent and the variety of diyas is breathtakingly beautiful. Diwali is a time to light up lamps and decorate the house,” according to Sabita Routray, a teacher of the capital city who had come to visit the exhibition of the earthen diyas here.

“Traditional diyas are of great significance in our mythology. Diwali is to commemorate Ram’s victory over Ravana. It also is the occasion of the worship of Goddess Lakshmi. In Odisha, offerings are given to the ancestors on this day of the auspicious month of Kartik,” revealed Sasmita Patnaik, a housewife.

“Nowadays, there is tremendous craze for terracotta diyas among buyers and traditional diyas are being sold like hotcakes. There are around200-300 varieties of diyas in my shop,” boasts Saroj Rout, a shopkeeper who has come all the way from Kendrapada ahead of this festival to sell his products.

“A large variety of diyas are been showcased ranging from low cost to very high cost diyas. People are preferring colourful and decorative diyas over the simple ones,” according to Ajay Jagdevof Pitapalli, Khorda who is in the capital city to sell his earthenware ahead of the festival lights.

It is time to light up the Diwali diyas (small baked earthen lamps) in the night of the new moon and pray for goodness to prevail over all the iniquity. It is time to rejoice the hard work of the potters who light up our houses by the diyas which cannot be matched with electrical gadgets. Lights which symbolizes knowledge, wisdom, goodness, happiness, peace, truth and prosperity. Therefore, they are in great demand during this festive season.

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Balaram Muduli, Potter

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Ajay Jagdev, Shopkeeper

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Sabita Routray, Teacher

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Kailash Muduli, Potter

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Saroj Rout, Shopkeeper At The Exhibition

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Sasmita Patnaik, Housewife

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Fagu Muduli, Potter