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A new way to light up the festival of lights5 min read

November 12, 2020 4 min read


A new way to light up the festival of lights5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Have you ever lit a Diya or little lamp on Diwali?

Do you know what it was made of?

Plastic? Maybe Clay? Or Perhaps, Gelly?

Image: GIPHY

A different Diwali

Well, there is a new Diya in town, and it is made of cow-dung! Icky right? Not so much. These dried cow-dung Diyas are here to save Diwali!

A Diya made of cow-dung. Image:NDTV

See, each Diwali, Hindu’s light up their homes with several little diyas or lamps. Each year, the number of Diyas that are sold increases. Most of the sales go to plastic Diyas. Since these Diyas are generally made in other countries, particularly China, they take away sales from the local artists who make hand-made Diyas. Thus, the livelihoods of Diya-makers or potters who make clay Diyas hang in the balance. Another problem is that these plastic Diyas are not very good for the environment; they add to the immense pollution across India each Diwali. However people choose them over clay lamps since are cheaper and easier to dispose and handle.

But this year, things seem to be different. People are doing their best to celebrate this Diwali without adding to the ever-thickening smog that blankets India. The state governments in Delhi and Bangalore have banned firecrackers or patakas. And finally, cow-dung diyas have arrived as a cheap and easy-to-use alternative to plastic diyas. In fact, cow-dung Diya’s are even better for the environment than traditional clay diyas!

Toxic smog in Delhi blankets India Gate. Image: Quartz India

Owliver’s Obscure Observation: The days after Diwali are often marked by Hazardous Air Pollution in cities like Delhi, as firecrackers can cause a lot of pollution and worsen the quality of the air we breathe everyday.

So great, and for so many reasons!

These cow-dung Diya’s are great for so many reasons. First of all, they are great for the environment as they produce no lasting pollution and are biodegradable. Not only do they decompose in the soil and become a non-toxic part of it, but they also burn off when they are lit. In fact, these cow-dung ashes can be used as fertilizer! 

Cowdung Diya’s at Kailash Cowshed. Image: TOI

Secondly, they shed light on the owners of cow-sheds and cow grazers who have suffered due to the pandemic. They also help bring back some incomes to those people whose lives have been affected by poverty caused by the recent lockdowns. It helps Indians be reliant on themselves or aatmanirbhar as we rely on Indian businesses and local materials to light up our homes this Diwali. What’s particularly awesome is that people across the country have embraced this new venture.

“From Jammu and Kashmir to Tamil Nadu and from Gujarat to Tripura, people from all across the states have actively participated in the initiative”

Hindustan Times quoting a member of the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog

Lastly, a lot of these Diya’s are made by NGOs who spend their time help solve a host of other issues that are troubling our nation. For instance, in Gujarat, these Diya’s are being made by young orphans. In Bhopal, the NGO producing these Diya’s will use the money to empower women and give them a new income source that can help them be independent. 

Owliver’s Obscure Observation: People in Tripura, a state in the north-east of India, are even making candles and Diya’s out of bamboo!

<< Image: MarthaStewart.com

Want to help out or buy some cow-dung Diya’s Diwali? Here is a list of NGOs currently making Diya’s out of cow-dung:

With excerpts from: Hindustan Times, Hindustan Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, New Indian Express.

Owliver’s Post wishes you a clean, eco-friendly and brightly-lit Diwali!

Image: GIPHY