At a time when China has extended its support to Pakistan, a campaign to boycott Chinese lights and promote earthen diyas during Durga Puja and upcoming Diwali is slowly taking shape in Bengal. A group of youths and individuals who believe in the saffron ideology have initiated the campaign which includes sale of earthen diyas from villages, exhibitions, posters and hoardings. The campaign has already been started on social networking sites.
Incidentally, BJP leaders, including national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, have called for a boycott of Chinese goods. After Pakistan, public anger in India has been directed at China. These sentiments escalated after China blocked a tributary of the Brahmaputra.
Assam’s minister for health, education and finance, Himanta Biswa Sarma, has jumped onto the boycott bandwagon and appealed to the masses to completely avoid buying Chinese goods during the festive season.
“China is supporting Pakistan, a terrorist nation. It has blocked one of the tributaries of Brahmaputra and vetoed the move on Masood Azar at UN. We are calling everyone to boycott Chinese goods, especially lights during this festive season,” said Niraj Agarwal, one of the people behind the campaign.
China has blocked a move by India to get the United Nations to recognise and designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azar as a global terrorist.
“We are asking everyone to go Swadeshi this Puja and Diwali. We are promoting traditional earthen diyas. We have also pooled in money and plan to outsource five lakh diyas from villages and sell them through a group of shopkeepers in Kolkata and Howrah,” added Agarwal. The organisers, a group of youths, held a meeting on Wednesday to plan a course of action.
According to the organisers, they will also put up hundreds of posters and hoardings in Kolkata, Howrah and other towns. Besides, this they will hold an exhibition of earthen diyas in Kolkata and Howrah.
From decorative lights to lamps, gift items, pandal decoration, artificial flowers — all these that are used by households and community Puja organisers — are made in China. Bengal and especially, Kolkata, has been flooded with Chinese imports from toys to household items, decorative items, ball bearings, pins and a host of other goods for years now.
Those associated with the campaign have scoured villages in Howrah and Hooghly where people make traditional earthen diyas.
“We have found that the production of earthen diyas have dropped by over 80%. The makers say the drop in sales forced them out of a job. Many of them are into other professions now,” said Ankit Agarwal, who is involved in the campaign.
India First, another organisation from Kolkata, has already initiated an online campaign titled, ‘This Diwali Diya Maati Ka. China Ka Nahi (This Diwali earthen Diyas. Not from China).’ A campaign for boycott of Chinese goods will be started via Facebook.