Chinese faces, Cantonese text and a Sivakasi stamp, all on the same box — that’s what you’ll find in the firecracker market this Diwali. In what seems to many as a clever move to cash in on the cheaper but legally prohibited Chinese-made crackers, Indian manufacturers have added a new Oriental twist to their products.
For instance, a box of firecracker ladis made by a company in Sivakasi called Cornation Group, has youngsters with Oriental features on the cover, and an inscription that reads, “Chinese crackers”.
Buyers are bemused. “This is ridiculous. They are obviously importing the stuff and self-branding it since it’s banned. It’s only a trick to save on labour costs,” says 18-year-old Namit Singh.
Cracker makers, however, deny the allegations. “People want change. So, we have Chinese-looking people on the cover because they sell. And we know importing them is illegal,” says a source from Cornation Group, refusing to be named. Other companies claim it’s a result of ‘tie-ups’ with Chinese counterparts.
But some dealers warn against the new stock. “Buy Indian, both in make and look. It’s the best-quality bet,” says Rachit Mattil of Jai Baba Fireworks.
Diwali ka naya formula
With the Grand Prix next week, Diwali will get an F1 twist. Most firecracker shops have stocked boxes with racing cars on their covers. But, the anti-corruption movement finds no place in the market. “Anna Hazare aur patakhe saath nahi jaate,” reasons a shopkeeper in the city.