Squinting their eyes to shield the sun,the expert are hard at work to give final touches to their creations. Effigy makers at the Sector-17 parade ground,however,express that this Dusshera may not bring them much cheer.
Belonging to Muzaffarnagar,Uttar Pradesh,the group of ten idol makers have just completed the last of the ten effigies of Ravana,Meghanad and Kumbhkaran,that will be burnt on Dusshera. The tallest of them is 60-ft and the others range between 30 and 45 ft. The tallest Ravana made by us last year was 50-ft,and giving it more height only increases the danger involved,as these effigies are very heavy, said Samimullah Khan,one of the workers.
He added that once begun,a structure was completed within six days,and that this year,they had prepared ten effigies for four Ramlilas by working for 18 hours every day. In the absence of a pucca shelter,we have been given cooking arrangements in the tent where we work,during the day, said Mohammad,who is a weaver by profession. He added that to their disappointment when they arrived at the ground ten days ago,rain spoilt their papers and raw material.
The workers said that,adding to their expense,primary material used in the effigies and bamboo wood had doubled over the past one year.
The bamboo used,this year,cost us Rs 31,000. Additionally,we have used cloth worth Rs 7,000,and newspaper and coloured paper worth Rs 5,000, said Ali Mohammad,the contractor. He further said that on October 24,the effigies will be stuffed with crackers worth Rs 1,000.
Our profit is likely to decrease by 40 per cent,this year,with each worker hardly saving around Rs 5,000 to take home, the contractor added.
However,the workers feel that despite having a full time employment in their state,they treat effigy making in Chandigarh as an annual trip that took them away from their day-to-day struggles.
The crime rate is very high in Uttar Pradesh,and eventually we might get our families to Ludhiana,and start weaving here, said Mohammad,adding that the art had been passed on to them from their previous generation,but might culminate with them,as their children did not seem to think of the art as interesting or economically rewarding.