Agra artisans return to Ludhiana with a new mission: make Ravana green | spcilvly

With the Dussehra festival fast approaching, 40 artisans from Agra tasked with creating 35 Ravana effigies for the celebrations have arrived in the city.

Artisans have replaced the paper and polyethylene blend used to make the effigies with paper imported from the US to reduce toxic emissions and plastic waste.  (Manish/HT)
Artisans have replaced the paper and polyethylene blend used to make the effigies with paper imported from the US to reduce toxic emissions and plastic waste. (Manish/HT)

It’s the same team that was behind the menacing Ravana’s realistic scowl at last year’s festivities, but this year the focus is not on a design upgrade, but on reducing pollution by using eco-friendly materials and eco-friendly fireworks in the process. .

Adhering to pollution guidelines and mindful of environmental concerns, artisans have made several changes to their traditional effigies-making process.

The most notable is the use of paper imported from the United States, replacing the previous paper mix with polyethylene. Switching to waterproof paper ensures fewer toxic emissions and reduces plastic waste. However, it takes a hit on the pocket and costs a huge amount. $3.6 lakhs.

Attar Singh, who has been part of the tradition since 2014, said a co-worker could not hold back tears as they watched his meticulously crafted Ravana effigy turn to ashes last year, adding: “It was the joy and the Mass applause as the burning effigy serves as the most rewarding return to hard work.”

Suhail Khan, whose family has been creating Ravana effigies for generations even as its members have found alternative careers as engineers and teachers, says: “Our generation no longer works for money. We are financially healthy and educated. We have been recognized by the Prime Minister and others. But the craft runs through our veins and, as a Muslim family, we feel that we are contributing to the overall unity. We celebrate Dussehra with as much enthusiasm as our Hindu friends.”

Reflecting on the changes he has witnessed over the years, Khan noted: “A lot of things have changed over the years. We have added much more detail to the effigies, making them look more human, but larger than life at the same time. With rising inflation, incomes have increased, so people are willing to pay the price for the detailed and evolving designs we offer.”

Sharing another fact about his craft, Khan says, “Most of the preparation of the Ravana effigy is done late at night, up to 3 in the morning, when the negative energies are believed to be at their peak. maximum. This timing is symbolic, considering that Ravana, once a devout follower of Lord Shiva, later embraced evil and ruled over demons, making him a subject of creation during the darkest hours.”

The city’s grandest Dussehra celebrations will be held at the Daresi ground.

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