Agra artisans improvise effigy designs to make city’s tallest green Ravana in Ludhiana

Mindful of environmental hazards, 40 Agra-based artisans tasked with creating 35 effigies of Ravana have used imported paper from the US, replacing the earlier mix of paper with polythene.

Following the pollution guidelines and mindful of hazards to the environment, the artisans have made several changes to their traditional effigy-making process at the Daresi Dussehra fair ground.

One of the most discernible changes is the use of imported paper from the US, replacing the earlier mix of paper with polythene. The switch to the water-resistant paper ensures fewer toxic emissions and reduces plastic waste. It does, however, impact the pocket, costing a whopping ₹3.6 lakh.

And what adds colours of harmony to the celebrations is the fact that the decision to make the effigy loftier was taken by spirited effigy artisans from Agra.

Last year, rain played spoilsport at the last moment. Therefore, the artisans have decided to use waterproof paper for the effigy. Intriguingly, the same team of artisans had made a 100-foot tall effigy of Ravana last year.

Attar Singh, who has been part of the tradition since 2014 laments that a co-worker could not hold back tears as they watched their meticulously crafted Ravana effigy turn to ashes last year, but it was the joy and applause from the masses as the effigy burnt serve that makes for the most rewarding return to the hard work.

Suhail Khan’s family has been crafting Ravana effigies for generations despite members having found alternative careers as engineers and teachers. 

“We are financially sound and educated. We’ve been recognised by the Prime Minister and others. But the craft runs in our blood, and as a Muslim family, we feel we are contributing to unity at large. We celebrate Dussehra with as much enthusiasm as our Hindu friends,” asserts Khan. 

“With rising inflation, incomes have increased, so people are willing to pay the price for the detailed and evolving designs,”informs Khan.

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