Ravana effigy makers around the city are doing their bits to save the environment during its burning on Dussehra, discovers Team Viva while Pankaj Kumar captures it
Lying in various colours — pink, green, orange and silver with paper-mache and stout bamboo frames — are the heads of Ravana in Titarpur, Dwarka and Tagore Garden. It’s that time of the year again, when people mark the victory of Lord Rama over the ten-headed demon by burning his effigies. While some associate Dussehra with the battle in Ramayana, others do so to commemorate goddess Durga’s victory over Mahishasura. One can witness grand celebrations taking place in every street and people huddling together to enjoy the day with much colour and splendour. Well, the tradition of burning his effigies has stayed for years and continues to excite people — not just the viewers but the creators as well.
Explaining the process of building an effigy, Dhyanand, who hails from Dwarka Shree Ramlila Society, says that the height of an effigy might vary, depending upon the customer’s demands. “The framework is built with bamboo sticks, which are bound using steel wires. This is followed by wrapping the frame with old cloths on the main parts to give it a support and later with khaki paper. Coloured papers are then pasted through glue or often painted and decorated once it dries,” he tells us.
Dussehra is surely a sight, but amid all the gala, the environment and people’s health is left behind. And with the growing debates around sustainability, many voices have been raised to abolish the practice of burning Ravana’s effigy as part of the festival. Though now, the usage of toxic chemical and unnatural paints have been witnessing a decline with the growing awareness as some effigy makers are doing their bits for the environment. An effigy maker from Titarpur, who has been creating these idols over the past 20 years, says that previously, the makers used to put any kind of waste material like crushed newspapers, torn clothes or even used plastic to fill up the idol. He says, “However, now, we make sure that such toxic waste is not used anymore and disposed off carefully.”
Dheeraj Tanwar from Tagore Garden says that he avoids the use of crackers while making the Ravana effigies, which are usually filled with fireworks and are burnt down with flaming arrows. However, he says, “If people demand, we use green crackers, which do not contain harmful chemicals as compared to other conventional firecrackers.”
Ask him why? He refers to the tragedy in Amritsar, Punjab, in 2018, when around 60 people were mowed down by a train after a crowd of Dussehra revellers had spilled onto railway tracks as it offered them a higher vantage point while watching the Ravana effigy getting burned. They were so busy recording the effigy go up in flames with their mobile phone cameras that amid the noise of the crackers and cheers from the crowd, they couldn’t notice the Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU speeding towards them.
Well, celebrations and festivals cannot be stopped, but necessary steps can be taken to minimise the pollution caused. Over the years, many parts of the country have resorted to celebrating the festival in a greener way. Here is an example to sustain the nature’s health during festivities: A laser light show that depicts an animated story of Ravana dahan, in which the laser can replace the traditional bow and arrow to burn the effigies, thus minimising the pollution and maximising the fun. This could also be educative for kids, informing them of the importance of preserving nature when abiding by the nation’s culture and traditions.
Monday, 07 October 2019 | Team Viva
You might also like
- Prez Rule in Maharashtra, parties relieved November 13, 2019
- NHAI aiming to complete Kumbh Mela works by June 2020 November 13, 2019
- Pithoragarh By election: Will Priyanka charisma work? November 13, 2019
- Smart phones-Anganwadi workers to observe protest November 13, 2019
- Harrawala Railway station to get better basic facilities and security November 13, 2019