Diwali is approaching and so does the markets are hauling with vivid, beautiful, twinkling, sparkling led strings, isn't it?
Let's tread back to the cultural anecdotes of this mesmerising "Festival of Lights". When victorious Lord Rama returned Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, the welcome indeed was significant enough to hold up the culture for centuries and ahead. Baked lamps filled up to the brim with ghee or oil, with a wick of cotton dissipated light in every direction; while thousands of them sparked in a joyous spree, a festival was marked, a livelihood gained an impetus.
Decades ago, the potters' community of India enjoyed unrivalled revenue and sales during Diwali out of their sales of crimson, baked lamps. Those petite structures earned them a seasonal living after months of vigorous efforts. Just a decade back or so, the advent of led strings somewhere mitigated the essence of baked earth and sales of pottery too. The sole reason being the ease of utility of the LED strings. Moreover, the gaining impetus of these LED strings pushed this artform on the verge of extinction.
Dharavi slum in Mumbai is a community of potters where the generations had dedicated themselves in pottery. Their declining enthusiasm can be felt by the fact that most of the residents of the "kumbharwada" area are switching to alternatives to earn a living. The culture that was long preserved by the forefathers, now no more pleases or excites their young generation. The fact that concerns the most is somewhere there will be potters' wheels rotting away, no more hands stained with clay, but an artform of cultural significance drowning into oblivion.
Although there are communities who choose to keep their ancestral wheels, yet there are no definite revenue protocols to provide them with a standard living. While not considering the cottage industries which indulge into pottery, the independent sellers suffer for the lack of proper revenue system.
Every Diwali these eyes are lit up in the hope of increased sales, but what when we choose "Chinese lights" over the burning lamps that truly mark the "festival of light"? This is not just a replacement of a product, but an alternative to a custom. Though there is not a complete denial of terracotta lamps but a highly declined rate. A row of two digits has merely reduced to a few lamps. This Diwali let's make an effort to at least bring that crease of a smile on those dull faces, whose chapped hands tanned in the sun to create those little, crimson, round structures.