No Diwali for earthen lamp sellers

Artisans Arts & Culture Bangalore Business Covid-19 event government Pandemic Scheme

Customers are more inclined towards buying electric lights.

The earthen lamp maker’s business has declined from 90 percent of sales to 25 percent for  the past two years. Lamp sellers blame the pandemic, along with the unwillingness of people to spend money on festivities during these tough times.

Most potters and pottery shop owners suggested that their sales went down to a great extent. Chandrashekhar, owner of the SSC Pottery Works said, “We are eagerly waiting for new orders. We haven’t been able to sell anything for the past two years.”

 Raju, a potter in Jayanagar said, “Our business has declined from 90 percent of sales to 25 percent of sales. This is not a good sign for our employment.”  

Professor Chatterjii of Institue of Management Technology Nagpur said, “Small businesses have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and traditional industries even more so. People prefer online shopping and these businesses do not have the skills to set up their products on online sites.”

Appi, a lamp seller at Jayanagar, said that they faced 50 percent losses last Diwali in comparison to 2019 and anticipates more losses this year. They had to increase the making charges of their earthen lamps as they have to pay extra as transport cost. Another vendor also said that he faced a 30 percent loss as he did not get as many customers as he did in the previous years.

Nabeel Ahmed, a street shop owner said “We suffered losses in sales of earthen lamps as people were afraid of crowds. They didn’t want to stand and choose the lamps stating hygiene issues.”

One of the customers named Rohit, said the pandemic has been financially harsh on them. “I had to cut down on many aspects of festival celebrations. I prefer buying fairy lights and long-lasting decorations rather than earthen lamps,” he said

Another customer, Priya said, “I lost my job in this pandemic. To celebrate the festival this year, these earthen lamps serve me better along with my pocket because they can be used again and again.”

Lalit Bhaskar, an environmentalist, said that “Ferry lights have low shelf life and hence are not sustainable. It pollutes the environment with huge plastic that is used in the making of it. It has a negative impact on the livelihoods of artisans who make diyas. It also adversely affects on life of artisans who rely on seasonal business opportunities.”

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