Vijayadashami or Dussehra, as popularly known, is approaching and people of all age groups residing in and across Dwarka are excited to celebrate it with full fervour and joy. Same level of excitement and hope could be seen among effigy makers too but for them, size does matter!
Preparations regarding the festival are in full swing across the area. While taking the road towards Dwarka Mor, we could catch a sight of footpath covered with the effigies of Ravana standing as hundreds of them are there, waiting to go up in flames on October 19.
Interestingly, this time, the demand is more for small and medium size models than the traditional, huge ones.
Dayanand Mahto, an effigy maker said, “Here the small puja celebration and the RWAs or other organisations in the area have asked for small effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath. So we have made small and medium size effigies more this year than the bigger ones last year.”
When asked about the rise and fall in demand, cost involved and reasons for it compared to previous years, Mahto added, “Last year we made 45 effigies but this year, we have made just 25. I can add 10 to 15 more but that totally depends upon the demand. Due to inflation and different types of laws on burning, we all are a bit confused so we have reduced the number to avoid risk and loss.”
Effigy makers see changing trend as a cause of concern when it comes to celebrating this festival.
“Burning effigies has become a culture in the community. People burn the effigies hoping to invite good luck so the culture is getting popular with each passing year. Earlier we used to make big size effigies but now, we are forced to make small Ravana for those who organise small puja within the community. So there is a change and that is profitable too if things go pretty smooth till the end,” Sunil Mahto, who is involved with his family in this seasonal business said.
Though, these effigy makers are hopeful of making profit this year too but unsure until the last effigy is sold out.
Jangbahadur Mahto, who has already spent 30 years in this business, compares the past and present scenario. “Till 2004-05, we were pretty much sure about the income and benefit but now till Vijayadashami, we are not sure. In worst case, a Ravana of Rs 5000 could be sold out in just Rs 500 or Rs 50. If everything goes well, we could earn Rs 20000-50000 in this season.”