Tussle Between Chinese Lamps And Diyas Continues This Diwali In Guwahati

Tussle Between Chinese Lamps And Diyas Continues This Diwali In Guwahati

Atiqul Habib | October 19, 2019 13:11 hrs

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the initiative of ‘Make in India’ campaign was launched in September 2017 with a view to transform India into a global manufacturing hub. However, the Guwahati market could be seen flooded with Chinese decor products this Diwali.

Like every year, the markets of Guwahati this year as well have been flooded with Diwali items. Crackers, flowers, diyas, dry fruits and everything else that you need for the Diwali celebrations are overflowing the sidewalks of popular shopping zones like Fancy Bazar, Ganeshguri and other markets of the city.

Diyas (earthen lamps) form an integral part of Diwali and G Plus tried to get in touch with the diya sellers to understand what was going in their world of business. The best locations to get these diyas in bulk are from sellers near the Kamakhya Gate and the Maligaon area.

These earthen lamps are brought from Gauripur, Goalpara, Kalangpar, Chimnidhora, Malibari and Pathsala during the festive season.

Speaking to G Plus, one of the sellers had this to say, “This time due to flood the production of diyas is less. We are unable to source from the potter in bulk as they are also charging more due to demand.”

The retail price of earthen lamps near Kamakhya gate is set at Rs 15 per dozen for the small ones, the medium ones at Rs 25 per dozen, the large ones at Rs 35 per dozen and the extra-large ones at Rs 50 per dozen.

The sellers hope that the government’s move to have an eco-friendly Diwali might get the people’s attention.

“Sale has been same as last year. In fact we thought sale would increase due to government’s proposal to observe eco-friendly Diwali. People don’t want to pay the price we set. Price negotiations at large are killing our business. Chinese products are flooding the market. These products in a sense are making people lazy,” Ajay Singh, a vendor said.

Not everyone is crazy about Chinese glittery lights. Some customers do want to have an old-style, traditional, Diwali celebration and are also concerned about the artisans.

“People should avoid Chinese lights and should be more inclined towards buying more handmade items like earthen lamps. I myself have purchased chaki and people should avoid foreign goods and use local products which would lead to the development of our Indian economy and help the poor who can easily do business and earn livelihood. We should rather focus on Make in India products,” said a local resident.

Adding to the woes, the stalls where the earthen lamps are being sold which is at the Kamakhya Gate is a busy street and because of which people are unable to park and buy.

“The government have put up these new railings along the footpath which has become a pain for us. Now customers cannot see our products due to which they don’t stop here,” said a vendor.

There is still hope for the earthen lamp makers and sellers, as a large number of people have expressed over social media and other media channels that they would still like to have an eco-friendly traditional Diwali.
It is to be mentioned that the lack of interest in the pottery business due to its sharp fall in its popularity the objective of ‘Make in India’ to generate employment and skill enhancement in nearly 25 sectors of the economy seems to be fading away.

China to Chandni Chowk

Chinese products, available in various designs, are flooding the markets this festive season. The traders in the Fancy Bazar market said that although PM Modi is promoting ‘Make In India’ we have to source most of these lamps and decor lights from Delhi and Kolkata which are again imported from China due to its cost effectiveness.

However, shopkeepers stated that because of the rising prices and with the advent of GST and less money floating in the market, many of the old buyers have turned back to the old traditional ways. “More than 40% of the sales have come down compared to last year but we still have a week’s time and hope buyers will turn up as this time we have more variety,” said a trader. 

On the contrary, local artisans are finding it difficult to compete in the market and margins have been reducing for the past two-and-a-half years.

Modern electric lights are ruling the market. The new generation is interested in electric diyas and latest additions to lighting technology.

Fancy and cheaper Chinese lamps are in demand because they can fit in anywhere on the wall. Speaking to a customer, he said earthen diyas are good and traditional but if we are getting fancier lamps at the same rate which is hassle-free why not opt for it as it doesn’t need to be refilled with oil or carries the risk of getting blown out.

“I am not buying much of earthen lamps as I have also to buy LED lights. Along with the earthen lamps there is additional expense of mustard oil. Moreover, it is hard to keep the lamps lit all the time,” a customer buying diyas at Maligaon said.

In recent years, the use of earthen lamps by the people on Diwali has decreased because they mostly use electric lights which are mainly imported from China. The use of plastic in these lights are also generating lot of plastic waste which is detrimental to environment.

Ayodhya eyes world record with over 5 lakh diyas during Diwali

The Yogi Adityanath government is aiming to break last year’s record of 300,100 earthen lamps lit on the banks of the Saryu River by lighting 550,000 earthen lamps across the pilgrimage town.

Ayodhya district magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha said, “This year, diyas will be lit not only at Ram Ki Paidi (on the banks of the Saryu River), but across the city. We have made elaborate arrangements to make Deepotsav grander than last year.”

It is to be mentioned that a team from the Guinness Book of World Records will be present to document the feat. 

The three-day celebrations will start on October 24 and will include Ramlila performances by groups from Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia, Surinam and Mauritius.

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