Religion no bar for Muslim effigy makers every Dussehra

  • Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times, SAS Nagar
  • Updated: Oct 20, 2015 10:44 IST
The artisan giving final touches to the effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbkarna in SAS Nagar on Monday. (Gurminder Singh /HT)

Cutting across all religious barriers, Muslim craftsmen travel all the way from different parts of Uttar Pradesh to SAS Nagar to add colour to Dussehra celebrations here with the effigies created by them. The effigies would be engulfed in flames as a mark of victory of good over evil on October 22.

Since last 21 years, Aliyaz Khan (65) had been making effigies and camps in SAS Nagar with about 10 craftsmen from Meerut and leaves no stone unturned to make the celebrations successful.

Talking about communal tension in the region over lynching of a few Muslim men, Aliyaz said, “The worst sufferer is the common man in case of communal tensions. This only weakens the secular fabric of the country. It takes years to heal the wounds that such episodes leave and rebuild the trust.”

“Hum jaise logon ke pass waqt hi kahan hai. Do waqt ki roti kamane mein hi sari umar nikal jati hai (common man has no time to think about such communal issues. We are just worried about our daily earnings and feeding our families),” said Aliyaz, whose seven generations have been making effigies to earn a living.

He, along with his fellow craftsmen that includes his brother and nephew, put in 18 hours a day to make the effigies. His younger brother Vyasudin Khan (52) adds, “For generations, our fami- lies have been making effigies for Dussehra. The simmering differences between two communities are unfortunate, but this does not deter us or the organising committees in hiring us. We have developed personal relations with them.” His son Shamu Khan (24), after Class 12, has been helping his family to make the effigies, “Most of the craftsmen and artisans have other regular jobs like that of a barber, painter, tailor and mechanic. This is extra income.”

Effigy of falling economy to go up in flames too

The SAS Nagar Dussehra committee has decided to burn a fourth effigy of the falling economic scenario. “The economic scenario of the country is not very promising for the common man,” said SAS Nagar Dussehra committee president Madhu Bhushan.

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