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Chinese Lighting Takes Potters and Small Businesses for a Blow This Diwali

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Chinese lightings
Chinese lightings. Pixabay

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.

Chinese lighting
Lightning diyas on Diwali. Pixabay

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.

Chinese lighting
Chinese lights. Pixabay

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.

The Problem

Chinese lightings
Handicraft shop in Janpath market, New Delhi. Wikimedia

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.

The Consequences 

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.

Chinese lighting
Boycott Chinese products. Wikimedia

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

Next Story

Fireworks Might Extinguish the Flame of Laxmi Puja

We can have various kind of festival enjoyments on Festivals but without ever causing problem to others and the environment

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Fireworks
There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. Pixabay

BY SALIL GEWALI

If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong. There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. To disturb others’ tranquility falls under the heading of vices. Preserving the sanctity of the environment, and more importantly, inner purity of mind and heart is the “prime doctrine” of SANATAN DHARMA which is popularly known as Hinduism. This Hindu culture now seemingly run the risk of having been defined by other communities with what is not very pleasant to hear.

Fireworks
It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment without Using Fireworks.

I’ve overheard many toxic comments against this blatant desecration of auspicious “puja celebrations”. During Holi festival, many people fear to move out of their homes, particularly in certain the plane areas in India. You might be blasted with a bucketful of dirty water by pranksters from the 5th floor of the building. Is this sadism the part of the puja and holi celebration? One is afraid, with each passing year, this festival of color of joy, though having strong spiritual significance, has only painted the very face of Hindu culture with vulgarity and depravity.

Fireworks
If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers, Fireworks and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong.

Matter of fact, peace in one’s life and his efforts to help bring peace in others’ lives is essentially the fundamental basis of Hindu culture and festivals. Practically speaking, there is no devotion to God without “peace”.  Therefore, “Shanti” (peace) is one of the most paramount peace mantras in Sanskrit, not “Ashanti” which, of late, is the hallmark of such Hindu puja celebrations. The profound objective behind this peace mantra, as propounded in Upanishads, inspired even one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century – TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land. That poem finally ends with the same peace mantra — Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Fireworks
TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land.

It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment. There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna LilaRam Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”. Ancient sages in their meditation conceived and authored a number of treatises in which we find the elaborate approaches and procedures to evolve oneself spiritually through fun-filled dances and music. There are “ragas and layas” (musical modes and rhythm), which are meant to “recharge” the mind for the meditative concentrationThe objective behind being to climb up the ladders of realization of oneness and universal uniformity.

Fireworks
There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna Lila, Ram Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation and not Fireworks. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”.

However, there is absolutely no scope or prescription for deriving pleasure or fun by causing pain and anxieties to others? How come bursting high decibel fireworks at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM is puja? In fact, it is called “adharma” or irreligion leading to self-degeneration.

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Therefore, it is DIYA, as per Vedas, which symbolizes the LIGHT to dispel the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of vices, and bring forth the light of knowledge to awake the “inherent” divinity. Goddess Laxmi is the “flame” of feminine ENERGY in the infinite cosmic creation. So, indulging in earsplitting fireworks and causing continuous problem to HER creatures, and HER environment, is totally against the fundamental principle of the devotion in Hinduism. Very sadly, with the blasting of the fireworks in the name of Goddess Laxmi we have invariably set off the tank of vices alone.

Salil Gewali is a well-Known Writer and Author of ‘Great Minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali