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Raidighi housewives fight poverty, yet hold on to the art of ‘Diya Making’

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Their men once upon a time were famous potters of Bengal. But lack of government funding and profits from selling their clay products, turned most of them into small traders of vegetables, rickshaw pullers or even furniture traders. But while the husbands are away trying to earn a decent living for their families, the housewives of Raidighi have taken up the job of holding on to their age-old traditions of clay ‘diya’ making. Once upon a time these country-made diyas were the only items used during Diwali to light up homes. 

However, with the flooding of Chinese lamps that are easy to light up and instant in nature, potters who made diyas lost in the market. Even the cost of ingredients went so high that they got very little profit. Unfortunately, due to lack of funds from either the Panchayat or from any other source, the diya makers of Raidighi had to hunt for other sources of employment. Still, the housewives stuck to this art form as their male counterparts have gone job hunting. They still make thousands of earthen diyas sold in the markets of Kolkata and its suburbs, along with lamps to be lit infront of Goddess Kali.