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AGARTALA: Tradition of lighting earthen lamps or rather say 'diyas' is slowly paving its way to a 'sunset.' While Diwali- the festival of light is enlightening every house, local artisans' are in darkness as Chinese decorative items have flooded local markets making people habituated to forget creativity of the earthen lamp. Madhu Rudra Pal, 53, a local artisan is scared of dying of their creativity.
"Cheap Chinese products are now hotcakes in local market. Such products are competing with the traditional designed lamps and thus hurting profitability of local artisans. People also prefer to spend less money to celebrate Diwali. We also get less order of preparing earthen lamps," Pal told Priyanka Deb Barman amidst his busy schedule of preparing diyas at Nandannagar in West Tripura District.
The suffering is not destined only for Madhu Rudra Pal but of total 30 families of the locality who earn their daily bread by making potteries, diyas, and other earthen-made decorative items. Apart from the area, traditional lamps are also prepared in localities of Udaipur in Gomati District, Belonia in South District, Sepahijala District's Bishalgarh and Melagarh.
Another problem is the government's negligence to promote such creative arts. Pots and other decorative items made from earthenware are normally high in demand in abroad where most people use them to decorate their houses. But the art and creativity need to be promoted more to revive its fortunes.
Bijoypur in Bangladesh's Comilla District is famous for traditional folk art of pottery products that are exported to many western countries.
"We do not get any support from government, even we don't know if there is any scheme to support us. We apprehend that we are the last generation to continue this earthen lamp and pottery business as we don't want our children to struggle like us," Manish Pal, an artisan of Anandanagar said.
Pal's forefathers were into this business since their days in Bangladesh. They even continued to this business after coming to Tripura due to partition.
–By Priyanka Deb Barman