Oct 08, 2017: Diwali is round the corner and households have started their Diwali shopping long before the month started. Just like any other festival in India, Diwali is also celebrated with the same zeal and enthusiasm and maybe a little more.
For years, our families have celebrated the festival of lights with traditional rituals, decorations, and food items but with globally influenced markets in motion, this has declined drastically.
In the recent decade, we see more and more Chinese lights and bulbs being sold in the markets for decoration; people have minimized or almost stopped the purchase of traditional Diyas and handicrafts for Diwali.
India is the largest market for Chinese products but also the largest negatively affected the economy by the selling of these products.
Handicrafts businesses and potters in India face the wrath of Chinese products the most during Diwali. On one side where the festival is all about traditional values and customs, customers choose to buy cheap and fancy Chinese lighting to decorate their homes instead of handmade diyas or Indian decorative items. The reasons traced behind this loss have been many all which trace back to the globalized market in India.
Customers opt for Chinese lighting as they’re durable and can be used the next year as well; on the other hand, they don’t what to do with used diyas after the 3-4 day Diwali commitment. The increasing cost of Oil has also resulted in the shift from traditional lighting to Chinese illuminators and candles.
In the past 5 years, the prices of diyas have also shot up considerably which results in the reluctance of the buyers. Potters in New Delhi complain about the availability of Clay which is used in the making of traditional diyas, they have to travel to Haryana or Rajasthan to get their hands on it whereas previously it was available in Delhi itself. With the onset of the new market system, potters have no other choice than to increase their prices to meet the supply and demand chain. Families used to prefer simple earthen lamps but with the variety available on Chinese lights and products, the shift is towards the buying of fancy Chinese products.
Small businesses of pottery and clay diyas face the most loss when from being the most crowded shops during Diwali now hardly get a customer or two. And the sad part is, even if the Chinese products cost more than a simple elegant diya; buyers are ready to buy the former because it’s more convenient to buy lights from a mall or retail shop than a roadside vendor with his earthen material.
The mall culture has inevitably brought the diya business to an all-time low.
In 2016, a campaign was ruled out to boycott Chinese products with support from BJP and AAP in India which resulted in many Indian households to switch back to the traditional clay Diya. With almost 80% drop of the production of earthen products dropping over the year, this campaign which was started on Facebook was an initiative to bring back the essence of Diwali – Traditionalism. The drop in sales of the products had also resulted in potters and handicraftsmen to change professions to which the government fails to take a step against.
Chinese lighting has hijacked the Indian market, leaving potters grief-stricken as their businesses fail to prosper.
Prepared by Tanya Kathuria of Newsgram ; Twitter : @TanyaKathuria97