The light of Diwali: Diyas
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The light of Diwali: Diyas

As artisans toil to meet the swelling demand for diyas around this time of year, City Spidey finds out what these earthen lamps signify.

The light of Diwali: Diyas

Life is usually quiet around here — a village in Manora, near Noida's Sector 35. It is only around Diwali that the entire village gets caught up in the rush of making earthen lamps or diyas, which are supplied across the city.   

City Spidey strikes up a conversation with artiste Kuwar Pal, whose five-member team is caught in a whirlwind of activities trying to meet the usual spike in demand around this time.



At the time of Diwali, they turn out about 2,000 to 2,500 diyas every day. Fortunately, this year, the demand for Indian handmade diyas is seeing an uptick and the mass-manufactured Chinese ones have had to take a beating.

Pal rues the fact that despite the high levels of concentration and hard work required for making earthen diyas, they don't fetch as much price. He says, "We have to work really hard, but the returns are really not as great."



His is a seven-member family, and besides diya-making, he also runs a general store. He explains, "I have a big family, and money from this craft is not enough to sustain my entire family. We do it because it's part of our family heritage — something that we are proud of, and not willing to abandon."



Today, diyas come in a variety of materials — in metal, in glazed ceramic variations. In addition, there are bespoke varieties, found in almost all high-end retail stores around this time.      

Whatever be their form, diyas will remain an integral part of Diwali celebrations. They are essential to aarti, a sacred Hindu ritual, and are used to decorate homes as well. Ghee — and more commonly mustard oil, is poured into the moulds and a cotton wick is kept dipped in it. One end of the oil-soaked wick is lighted.  

Lighting diya is not just ritualistic, but has deep symbolic significance. The oil in the diya represents greed, jealousy, hatred, lust, while the wick represents the aatman or self. So, in order to attain enlightenment and unite with the Brahma or the power, one must be rid of materialism.



Diya also represents knowledge, and lighting it signifies removal of ignorance through wisdom or cognition.