The festival of lights ‘Diwali’ is one of the most popular festivals in India. It is believed that Lord Rama completed his fourteen years of exile and returned to his kingdom Ayodhya where lots of diyas were lit up to welcome him.
And now at this time, these diyas are facing existential crisis as when Diwali is just round the corner, the sale of diyas is not meeting the expectations in Guwahati.
One of the main reasons for decrease in sale of diyas is that people are replacing traditional diyas with artificial diyas which lights up with just a click of a switch.
Most of the people prefer artificial diyas as it costs less compared to traditional diyas and lasts for two-three years.
Usually, Kamakhya Nursery is filled with people buying diyas one week prior to Diwali. Citizens used to buy diyas in huge amounts to light up their residential houses.
This year the market has been hit severely. Fewer crowds are witnessed in the area and the vendors are worried if they will meet the profit margin.
One of the main reasons behind this situation is the construction of flyover. As huge traffic is witnessed from Kamakhya Gate to Maligaon Chariali, people who wish to buy diyas from the vendors are unable to park their cars. Even if they want to buy, then they have to park a few metres away and then carry the diyas to the car and get stuck in traffic for hours which at times becomes tiresome.
A few vendors who had been selling diyas for many years in the area expressed their distress. One of them said, “This time the sale is worse compared to the previous two years. The construction of Maligaon flyover has somehow impacted our sale. People do not wish to come towards this side due to huge traffic. I am afraid that this time we will not be able to reach our profit margin.”
Moreover, few people in order to give a sophisticated look prefer to buy floating candles, pre-designed diyas and others which are available online at low cost.
It helps to make their home look colourful and bright with all the different colours of diya. People can order them at the comfort of their home which is another reason why they prefer.
One of the citizens said, “This time of the year the e-commerce give heavy discounts and we can order different types of colourful diyas at the comfort of our home. The traffic, dust makes it difficult for us to give away a day to buy diyas. The online market has made it convenient for us to buy it at an affordable rate.”
The hike in cost of mustard oil is also one of the reasons and traditional diyas need constant attention to make them lit up for hours. However, the candles do not need much tending.
Regarding this, another one said, “The traditional diyas need very much tending like pouring mustard oil time to time, to keep a check on it every 10 minutes and we don’t get to enjoy the festival much. The lights which comes in the shape of diya makes it easier for us as it is just a switch away to make it light up. Also the hike in mustard oil is another reason to choose the lights.”
For the past many years, homes, offices, residential apartments, and so on were filled with diyas lit up which used to give a sense of peace, devotion and happiness that Lord Rama is back to his Kingdom after 14 years of exile. Although it is mythological story, yet the people, deep in their hearts, felt themselves to be part of those people who celebrated the return of the Lord.
The rangolis used to be incomplete without hand-painted diyas, marigold flowers. With time people change preferences according to affordability and convenience.
However, few sections of the society yet prefer traditional diyas rather than those found online.