THAT PRICE rise pinched middle and lower classes this Diwali may not have been very visible in a dazzling market, but people across economic sections agreed this was the costliest ever festival of lights.
Diwali was celebrated with traditional enthusiasm, but rise in inflation and skyrocketing prices in almost every segment made the festival of lights comparatively dull.
No doubt a large section of population as a token of festival ritual, bought firecrackers, lighted lamps and performed ‘puja’, the exorbitant prices of food grains, daily commodities, FMCG products, consumer durables, fireworks, electricity tariff and even those items used in worshipping, virtually stole the shine off Diwali.
According to denizens, the festival looked less scintillating than ever before and celebrations were over earlier in the evening, in comparison to previous years.
Although brokers and investors of the stock-market celebrated Diwali on October 13 for the Sensex closing at 12,736, the simultaneous rise in inflation to 4.77 per cent, was a dampener.
Future trading in commodities has been one of the factors, points out a jewellery trader Navneet Agarwal. “Price rise in every segment, firecrackers and rains have virtually dampened the festive spirit this year. That’s why people – especially the middle-class was found to be less enthusiastic in comparison to previous years,” remarked homemaker and wife of a bank official, Seema Chaturvedi.
In earlier years, people used to go around the City to get a glimpse of decoration and celebrations. Steep rise in petrol and diesel prices restricted mobility too.
Pressure in workplaces was also one of the factors for low enthusiasm. “Just a day’s holiday on Diwali is spent in taking rest, in addition to going for other household work. Hardly, anytime is left for celebration and one has to rush to workplace on time the next day,” remarked a corporate sector employee.
According to sociologists, nuclear families and children working abroad, leaving old parents behind in the country, have also weakened the social-fabric and family members hardly get an opportunity to gather and celebrate the festival, as in the past.
“It has turned out to be a formality now. No time, shoe-string budget and heavy prices have led people to celebrate on a token Diwali” observes pharmaceutical dealer Pawan Chhajjed.
Echoing similar sentiments , a PCO owner M Kudeshia said since Diwali falls in the third week of the month, budgets were quite tight and this reflected on the celebrations. A post-Diwali analysis shows cutting across society, almost every individual feels ‘the earlier charm of Diwali seems to have lost its shine’. “Id too is going to witness the same dullness, like Diwali,” quips Aziz Bhai, a businessman.