Not a bright Diwali for traditional potters in KalyanUpdated: Oct 26, 2019, 00:54 IST
The extended monsoon this year affected business of the Gujarati community of Kumbharwada who make earthen diyas for Diwali.
The community has been making earthen diyas for the past 100 years.
Gujarati Kumbharwada, near Kala talav, in Kalyan is home to potters, who have been living there for four to five generations.
The cost of the earthen lamp has increased this year from ₹10 to ₹25.
“Around 80 families at Gujarati Kumbharwada used to make earthen lamps before Diwali. Now, only eight families have stuck to the traditional profession. Very few families have continued with the traditional business. This year, we have managed to make only 15% to 20% of earthen lamps,” said Mahendra Prajapati, 48, whose family has been into the profession for 100 years.
The areas has around 100 families, who originally hail from Rajkot and Gir Somnath districts of Gujarat, but have been living in Kalyan.
“Over the years, many families from our community have discontinued the traditional business. There are 100 families living at Gujarati Kumbharwada and only eight families make earthen lamps,” added Prajapati.
He added that they prepare much in advance. “Diwali is an important festival and we get busy months before the festival. The open space at the wada is filled with mud. One family makes around 6,000 lamps a year. However, this year we have not even made 1,000 lamps. We are facing 80% loss this year,” said Prajapati.
Families are purchasing readymade lamps from Mumbai and Gujarat and selling them after adding painting them with fancy designs.
Dhanaji Kumbhar, 58, who makes around 5,000 lamps a year, has not made a single one this year. He has ordered handmade lamps this Diwali. “We will hardly earn a profit by selling readymade lamps. But, we have ordered them for our regular customers only,” he said.
According to potters at Gujarati Kumbharwada, they do not get good quality mud to carry forward the family business.
“Before the area had open grounds and fields and mud was easily available. However, the area is now covered with buildings and towers. Now, we get mud from nearby brick kilns,” added Kumbhar.
As the production of the diyas had gone down, prices have increased compared to last year.
“We have not been able to make as many lamps this year because of heavy rainfall. We need sunny days to dry diyas. We had an extended monsoon because of which lamps did not dry properly. With the limited stock of lamps in the market, the cost has increased by ₹10 to ₹15, compared to last year,” said Mohit Prajapati, 21, an engineering student, who helped his father to paint the readymade diyas.