This Diwali has been a happy one for dozens of city-based potters in a very long time. Reason: The local potters have seen a 20-30% rise in business as compared to previous years, thanks to an intense campaign by activists and organisations against cheap-yet-innovative Chinese goods.
A large number of locals also decided not to sell or buy Chinese goods this festive season in the wake of China continuing support to Pakistan after the Uri terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a visit to the local Kumhar Mandi (potters’ market) on the eve of the festival of lights, Hindustan Times found them excited about the prospects of better sales this time. Though the sales may still not have gone through the roof, but a considerable jump in the stocks flying off the shelves has brought cheers to their otherwise low spirits.
“This Diwali is truly a happy one for us as the sale of diyas and other earthenware items has gone up by at least 20-30% as compared to previous years,” Ramesh Kumar, who belongs to a family of traditional potters based at Kumhar Mandi, told HT.
Kumar said the rate of each clay trolley had gone up by Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000. “We hardly used to get any margin (out of this profession) but higher sales this time have encouraged us. Buying more and more “Bharatiya” (Indian) stuff will bring us employment and will make them (buyers) feel patriotic,” he said.
Chhote Lal, another potter from Kumhar Mandi who sells his products on Chakrata Road, said the sales of earthenware products, especially those of fancy earthenware and terracotta items, were much higher this time.
The community, however, feels that a lot still remains to be done about their overall welfare. Lakshmi Chand, a potter, said the government had failed to address issues such as lack of space to sell their products and troubles in procuring clay.
“We have no expectations from the government as our requests have fallen on deaf ears in the past,” said Chand, surrounded by diyas next to their family kiln on their courtyard.
Potter Ganga Sharan Prajapati said they were often “victimised” by the police and the municipal workers. “Due to lack of a permanent place to sell, the police and civic body workers exploit us in the name of encroachment. There have been talks of providing us a separate space but to no avail,” he said.
Different variants of diyas are being sold from Rs 2 to Rs 25 while idols and other decorative items made of clay are being sold for Rs 50 to Rs 1,000 this time.