Kendrapara, Oct 23 (LocalWire): Diwali is the boom time for nearly 140 families who monopolise the art of making diyas (earthen lamps) in Kendrapara district and its nearby areas.
With changing times, the demand for diyas has also changed.
All members of their family are engaged in manufacturing the diyas. ‘The sale is picking up with Diwali a few days away,’ said Bichitrananda Behera, a diya maker from Marsaghai.
‘Making diyas is our age-old profession. I want to educate my five-year-old son but will also teach him the art of making diyas which will act as a buffer in case he doesn’t get a job,’ he said.
‘Making diyas is a seasonal business and the youths do not prefer to continue this traditional profession.
As a result we are not getting the next generation to help us make diyas,’ lamented Yosabanta Behera, another traditional diya maker from Parakula village.
Diya makers work overtime to meet the demands and earn more during Diwali. The festival of lights is a big season for us to earn a few thousand rupees extra,’ said Sanyasi Behera, an artisan of Teregaon.
‘To make the diyas more attractive, we paint it with different colours.
Shortage of skilled labour is the biggest hurdle in the business. Some of us who are still practicing the craft are doing so only to keep the hereditary art-form alive. Otherwise, one cannot make both ends meet in this profession,’ he added while baking diyas.
‘The price of a coloured diya ranges from Rs 10-50 whereas the cost of other traditional diyas vary from Rs 2-10,’ said Bhagabat Behera, another diya maker from Parakula.
‘This Diwali is going to be less noisy and more eco-friendly after the Apex Court imposed ban on crackers and restricted bursting them to only two hours from 8 pm to 10 pm.
The Supreme Court allows the sale of green crackers which have low emission of light, sound and harmful chemicals so we hope people spend money to illuminate their houses with earthen diyas,’ said Amarbara Biswal a social worker of Kendrapara.
‘Diya making is facing a bleak future as the new generation shows no interest to pursue the craft.
The availability of terracotta diyas from West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajastan and the Chinese artificial lights also pose a challenge to us,’ said Abhiram Behera a diya maker of Parakula.