JAIPUR: The economic slowdown and rising prices in the country has hit the sale of Demon king Ravana's effigies in Jaipur.
Unlike most cities where Ravana effigies are burnt in only some prominent and well-known locations, the Pink city has a tradition of burning Ravana effigies from small to giant sizes in different parts of the city on Dussehra.
But the number of such effigies being bought and sold at the Ravana Mandi in Gurjar ki Thadi has dropped dramatically this year – from an average of ten thousand earlier, this time the number of Ravana effigies has come down to just around three thousand for this year’s Dussehra.
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Traders and artisans at the Ravana Mandi are disappointed at the lack of demand for their effigies this year.
They admit that though the sale of effigies has picked up just ahead of Dussehra on Tuesday, there are far less takers than in earlier years since the price for their colourful creations have gone up.
“The cost of bamboos, gum, coloured paper and everything used in creating the effigies has shot up. While input costs are rising, people’s ability to pay seems to have gone down and given the unseasonal rains still around, people don’t want to take a risk in buying our effigies. That’s why the sale is far less than what we have created,” says Ravana effigy seller, Jagdish Jogi.
“Effigies of different sizes from 1 foot to 80 feet are popularly made in our mandi and if somebody gives a specific order, we create effigies of even up to 100 feet. The smallest effigies sell for as little as 100 to 300 rupees but the larger ones between 80 to 100 feet are available in the price range of Rs 80,000 to about a lakh of rupees,” said Rajendra Kumar another effigy seller.
But the upcoming municipal elections in Rajasthan have given some reason for cheer and better sales for effigy makers. Local leaders aspiring to get tickets for the local body polls are trying to buy Ravana effigies of bigger sizes in order to woo voters in their municipal areas.
As a result, traders say many of these potential leaders are getting impressive Ravana effigies made of large sizes in a bid to win the favour of their voters !!
Traders say the maximum number of such large-sized effigies have been booked from New Sanganer road, Jhotwara and Mansarovar areas where leaders have got costly Ravana effigies created that range between 30 to 60 feet in size and have booked over 400 such effigies.
The President of the Ravana Mandi and of the Jogi Society that makes these effigies, Jagdish Jogi says that nearly 200 families of artisans depend on this trade and together make thousands of such effigies on Dussehra.
Though they have even adopted a range of eco-friendly techniques to create better effigies, they are disappointed at the slack demand in the Pink City.
As a result they are now exploring how to sell in bigger markets like Delhi and Mumbai and the artisans have already secured a few orders from Gangapur City in eastern Rajasthan.