Diwali is one of India’s biggest and most important festivals of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa/diya) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness.
More recently, Chinese-made lights and crackers have flooded into the markets and their sale is growing at alarming rate. No doubt, the Chinese lights are cheap, colourful and bright and are available in variety of styles and designs. However, they drain our local economy. Diwali is the time when our local potters, craftsmen and artisans make living out of lamps and diyas. During this period, they look forward to earn a bit more. Chinese items have snatched their livelihood.
To create awareness towards this cause, Kolkata’s Singing Sensation Soumita Saha has started an initiative. Through various campaigns, social media posts, Soumita has been making her fans and followers aware about this. The Songbird runs this awareness campaign which is an unique attempt to revive the traditional art of clay lamps alive .
Soumita who has done several music albums and TV shows says that Clay Lamps have spiritual importance too. “Clay lamps (diya) and its flame (jyoti) signify the divine which is self-effulgent (paramatma) and illuminates the entire universe and the soul (the atma). The atma is the immortal light within each living being and ultimately unites with the paramatma. The lighting of the clay lamps physically satisfy that yearning and metaphorically remind us that the Light of knowledge, Light is hope, Light is truth, Light is victory”.
Few years ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also appealed all to buy earthen diyas and lamps from local sellers. Millions of potters in the country are associated with this traditional art.
Soumita says, “Whenever I buy diya and bring it home, I get a stange feeling, a feeling of satisfaction of contributing to the economy. Wherever I take it, I end up thinking it was moulded skillfully by a potter from my country with the clay of this country.The best kind of happiness one can spread during diwali”
The singer is best known for her contribution to the field of Rabindrasangeet. Undoubltedly Soumita’s contribution to this essential public awareness deserve applause.