The Telegraph
Tuesday , October 26 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chinese lamps to light up Diwali
- Soaring oil, ghee prices force residents to shun traditional diyas

Patna, Oct. 25: Blame it on the invasion of Chinese electric goods into Indian markets, the traditional earthen lamps have slipped off the priority list of Diwali shoppers.

Residents are preferring fancy Chinese lights which are not just cheap but also easy to put up and glow all through the night or till the time there’s power supply.

Chinese lights are fast replacing the earthen lamps made by the poor potters from the city and outside.

According to traders, the main reasons behind this are the affordable price and a wide variety of lights to choose from. “Prices in the range of Rs 20 to Rs 250 are not much for the lower and middle-class families. People easily get attracted to these fancy lights due to their colours, shapes and affordability,” said Jeet Singh, a local trader in Chandni market.

He further said: “Lighting earthen lamps is a time-consuming process. Earlier, women of the house used to spend a major part of their Diwali evenings filling up the diya with oil and arranging them around the house. That wasn’t the end of their task. The lamps would soon extinguish due to wind or after running out of oil and the women would again run with a new bati and oil to light up the lamp.”

“Now, most households have taken a liking for the artificial lights and the diya seems to have run out of favour,” Singh added. Talking to another shop owner in Chandni market, Roshan Kumar said: “Chinese lights are cheaper and less time-consuming. These lights look good and are available in a variety of range and design. The cheapest ones are the simple, multi-coloured light arrangements, while the more expensive ones include dancing-musical lights.”

He further said: “Rising oil and ghee prices are major factors that have forced people to look for alternatives. Domestic lights manufacturers have to offer varieties and affordable prices in order to compete with Chinese lights.”

“Every year during Diwali we bring in new kinds of lights. This year, we have introduced the traditional diya and candle-shaped lights which are becoming very popular here. They are not very costly which is good for the customers,” said Laxaman Babu, a shop owner.

Santos Kumar, a customer at the market, said: “I am buying Chinese lights because it is is more attractive than the traditional earthen lamps. The best part is that it lasts longer than the traditional diya.”

Speaking to The Telegraph, some potters said that though the Chinese lights are a huge rage among some people, many others still prefer the traditional way of celebrating Diwali with earthen lamps. “These electric lights have become good gift items and most people are gifting them on Diwali. All these lights have taken the sheen out of traditional earthen lamps. There are very few takers for them these days, especially in cities,” said Vilas, a potter.

Sukhi Ram at Kadamkuan, whose family has been involved in making diya for generations, said: “There were times when we supplied hundreds of thousands of earthen lamps and other traditional items during the festival. Now things are different. People want designer and fancy lamps and that too at cheap prices.”

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