Despite facing extinction threat, earthen lamp makers living along the Dikhow river in Sivasagar district go about their business ahead of the festival of lights
Sivasagar: Konmai Kalita is spending sleepless nights. On one hand, massive erosion along the Dikhow river is threatening the very existence of her village, Kumargaon, in Nazira area of Sivasagar district, on the other, poverty and dipping sales are coming in the way of her survival.
In such a situation, Kalita, much like the members of nine other families in Kumargaon who are involved in the making of earthen lamps (diyas) for a living, are hoping for a miracle ahead of Diwali next week.
For the forthcoming festive season, Kumargaon potters have already made around three lakh earthen lamps for sale in the open market. “Traditionally, we have been involved in this family business for years. However, erosion along the Dikhow river is now threatening our very survival. Our village is almost on the verge of getting wiped out from the map by the Dikhow river,” said Kalita.
Expressing serious concern over the present condition of the dying art, Kalita also urged the state government to take urgent initiatives to preserve it.
“We would be happy if the state government extends its helping hand to us so that this unique art can be preserved forever,” she said, adding: “Over three lakh earthen lamps are already ready for sale. There is about a week left for Diwali. We hope to produce about 4 lakh earthen lamps till then.”
Bhaben Kalita, another potter from Kumargaon, lamented: “We have been living on the banks of the Dikhow for the past 150 years. Nobody in our family has government jobs. We are surviving only on the dying art of making earthen lamps. Not just lamps, we are also involved in making of other earthen products such as kettles and urns.”