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In Photos: Behind Your Diwali Scenes, The ‘Diya’ Makers of Delhi

When Lord Ram returned after 14 years of vanvaas, Ayodhya residents lighted 'diyas' to celebrate his homecoming. Now 'diyas' are synonymous with Diwali. These traditional earthen lamps, sold as low as three rupees a piece, are built by craftsmen who are passionate about this. Though, a few challenges remain in the survival, both of their livelihood, as well as the craft.

This is the story of Potters Colony in west Delhi's Uttam Nagar. Here, the diya makers have their hopes flickering in the light of rising costs, competition from Chinese crackers, and a few legal tussles regarding their kilns.

A potter making vessel on a spinning wheel.

The potters work in cramped spaces, with no proper air circulation. Most of the times, their houses double up as the workshop. This is the reason why most of the kids don't want to live in this place.

But there's a conflict of ideas. The senior potters, with established setups, would like their children to pick up pottery as their profession. The tradition must continue, they feel. But will this idea spark the imagination of the next generation? That remains to be seen.

Outside view of the potter’s house.
Hands of a potter whose hands got burned in furnace some 13 years back.
Har Kishan Prajapati, who is well-known for his glazed tiles and pottery work in Potter’s Colony, busy woking in his workshop.
Children studying while their parents are busy making pottery. 
Potter’s wife busy collecting diyas in her house.
Mishri Devi looking at the photograph of her husband, who died seven years ago.
A potter, Hari Lal busy making a flower pot.
Hands of Bina who is preparing mud for pottery. 
Outside view of a Potter’s house.
Senior potter, Kishan Lal Prajapti (76) and her wife Angori Devi talking to each other.
Inside the pottery workshop.
A girl running away from the camera down a lane at potter’s colony.
Sikandar, 13-year-old pottery painter carrying an earthen vessel in his hand. 
A woman potter painting diyas for the upcoming Diwali festival.
A potter Ramu Prajapti, working at his workshop.
Newly made diyas drying in the sun before getting burned.
A potter, Swasti Devi painting diyas.
Deepak, a 7-year-old kid of a potter talking to his sister .
An old lady on road can be seen looking at Ramu Prajapat’s courtyard.
Pottery painters inside their workshop. 
Children taking out broken vessels from their house.
A lady throwing out the broken pottery.
A child saying no to the camera.

(Text by : Aaqib Raza Khan)

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