Delhi

Festive excitement missing at Delhi’s effigy market

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Business has taken a battering with no amenities being provided at the new location: artisans

The effigies are getting ready for the big day, ready to be shipped to all corners of the Delhi-NCR region, and Ravana heads line up in a queue, but the festive excitement is missing this Dussehra.

Crammed, dimly lit and far away from the main road, the effigy market in west Delhi’s Subhash Nagar was relocated from the bustling Titarpur village near the Tagore Garden Metro station in 2018. But business — and life — have taken a battering with no amenities being provided, say the artisans.

Believed to be one of the largest of its kind in Asia, the Titarpur market would be its busiest a few days before Dussehra, with massive Ravana heads lined up on the road. Now, the effigy makers occupy what are essentially two unkempt grounds, with only tall grass in the name of a workplace.

There’s no water, no electricity and no sanitation facilities either, said the artisans, who leave their round-the-year low-paying jobs ahead of the festive season to make some extra cash by making and selling effigies.

Though busy giving final touches to the replicas of the tall and mighty ten-headed Ravana, and his brothers Kumbhkaran and Meghnad, the uncertainty of taking back home a decent income is evident from their faces.

The artisans are mainly daily wage labourers from Rajasthan, Haryana and Bihar.

“When we shifted, the authorities promised us basic amenities like sanitation, water and electricity. Now here we are making effigies in a place worse then a jungle,” said Mahendra Ravanawalla, as he wrapped the bamboo frame with old sarees.

Instead of earning money, they actually end up spending ₹300-400 every day from their own pockets to arrange for drinking water. “The few lights that can be seen here are also installed by us, for which we spent over ₹2,000,” said Ravanawalla, who has been making effigies for the last 45 years.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 9:27:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/festive-excitement-missing-at-delhis-effigy-market/article29613125.ece

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