Sundaylite | Fashion

Celebrating a sustainable Deepavali

A panchgavya diya   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It is easy to see why Kalyana Raman speaks passionately when asked about the cow dung diya (lamp).

In 2017, the Mumbai-based entrepreneur came up with the idea for these lamps, when he realised that farmers were selling cow dung for less than 50 paise per kilogram, as an alternative to traditional clay ones.

Wealth from waste

Also known as panchgavya diya, these lamps are made out of the five products derived from a cow.

Based on the concept of Ayurveda, Raman says, the lamp combines direct components like urine, cow dung and milk with indirect components like curd and ghee to create a chemical-free product that is fully bio-degradable. “Farmers in the country are financially distressed, and cow dung diya is just one of the ways in which they can earn an additional income and become independent,” Raman adds.

A worker crafting the panchgavya diya

A worker crafting the panchgavya diya   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

How is the cow dung diya different from the clay one? After it is lit, the lamp too catches fire, and the resultant smoke from it acts as a mosquito and insect repellant, he says. “The remaining ash is used as vibhuti (holy ash), and can also be used as an anti-fungicide for plants,” Raman adds. One can also discard the diya without worrying about the effects to environment.

The entrepreneur says that he went about creating a simple machine to craft the diya, which was assembled with the help of two professors from IIT Bombay. The process of making the diya is simple. It begins with mixing one litre of cow urine with 200 grams of the dung that is then left to soak overnight.

Kalyana Raman

Kalyana Raman   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Curd, ghee and milk are then added to the mixture. On the side, neem, peepal and lime leaves are ground to form a dry paste. The two are then mixed and placed into a mould at a pressure of 900 to 1100psi, after which the diyas are left outside to dry. “We usually make 100 diyas in an hour,” he says. Additionally, from the making to disposal, no water is used. “In metro and Tier II cities, we identify women sellers who include this product in their business. In Chennai alone, there are 10 to 15 women engaged in this activity, with more looking to join,” he adds.

A community product that is created from bio-waste, Raman says that his technology is present in 150 districts across the country, and empowers over 1 lakh people. “I believe that the product must become significant in our daily lives, enforcing the need for sustainable living,” he concludes.

Kalyana Raman can be reached at 9820282083

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 11:37:10 AM |

Next Story