Here, evil is custom-made, that too in all shapes, sizes and colours! Even a day before Dussehra, workers at Titarpur in West Delhi are busy putting finishing touches to hundreds of effigies. Raavan, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath lie scattered all over, waiting to be dispatched.
Known as the hub of effigy makers, families who live here have been making effigies for generations. “It’s our ancestral business. My forefathers were also in the same business. I started it as a hobby, but now I enjoy it as much as people do while burning them,” says Ram Manohar, who’s been in the business for 20 years now.
This year, effigy maker Gulshan Kunwar says, they made several effigies that could symbolise corruption and those were the hot sellers. “Maine Raavan pe ‘corruption’ likkha, aur woh saare putley haatho haath bik gaye,” says. Kunwar, who learnt this art from his grandfather. Ravinder Kalra, whose family has been in the business for 60 years, says there’s no major difference in the three effigies. “But, Raavan is usually in the brightest colour and Meghnath is blue,” he adds.
The effigies are priced from R1,000 to R18,000, depending on the size. “I have made some 30 effigies and the tallest one is 50 feet tall,” says Raj Kumar, who has been in this business for 25 years. For the rest of the year, he makes paalkis and dolis for Indian weddings, but for two months before Dussehra, he makes only effigies. A lot of effigies have electrical lighting on them. “We have made these changes at the request of our clients. One of the effigies has red lights for the eyes and tongue, so that it glows in the dark and looks scarier,” says Kunwar. This effigy also has horns, glowing eyelashes and tusks.
Effigies in smaller sizes — 5-6 feet tall—are made for residential associations and smaller gatherings. “I have bought this 5 feet tall effigy for Rs 1,300 for our personal gathering at home,” says Rachna Khurana, a resident of Derawala Nagar, who was at Titarpur.
Some special touches
A new design, which is popular, has a two-faced Raavan; one in gold and the other in silver
Some effigies have special lighting effects in order to look scarier
Inspired by Anna Hazare’s movement, many effigies have the word ‘corruption’ written on them
Some effigies also have eyelashes that glow in the dark