One lakh designer diyas (earthen lamps) from Etah and Kannauj, handpicked by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, would add glitter during the August 5 Ram temple ‘bhoomi pujan’ event in Ayodhya.
A truckload of these diyas have already been dispatched to the temple town and chairman of Maati Kala Board Dharamvir Prajapati is reaching Ayodhya to ensure that they are distributed to all major temples and for river banks adjacent to the bhoomi pujan site.
Besides these designer diyas, lakhs of others would be lit up in the run-up to the event and during the bhoomi pujan event in Ayodhya following CM Yogi’s call for ‘deepotsav’ (festival of lights) on August 3, 4 and 5 in the temple town.
Along with Ayodhya, the Lucknow bungalow and offices of the chief minister, his ministerial colleagues as well the party offices and those held by senior party functionaries and cadres would be also be lit up. Besides Uttar Pradesh, potters from Maharashtra and Rajasthan, have contacted Prajapati and expressed the desire to be associated with the Ram temple event.
“A Mumbai based businessman has contacted me offering to donate one lakh earthen lamps. A big potter from Rajasthan wants to donate a Ram idol worth nearly Rs 60 lakh. It’s going to be ‘Diwali’ on, and in the run-up to, the August 5 event. For everyone from Ayodhya to Lucknow and beyond it would be a momentous occasion. We are especially happy because the potters, who are mostly OBCs, and for whose cause the Maati Kala Board has been set up by our government, would get recognition and respect that they deserve,” said Prajapati, who is busy these days with identifying promising potters to be listed on the board. Prajapatis, an OBC community, traditionally make a living by giving shape to clay – from toys to diyas.
Prajapati said CM Yogi was so impressed by the designer diyas that he ordered one lakh of them.
“When I showed him the designs, Yogiji immediately said he wanted them in Ayodhya. He has big plans for Maati Kala Board and feels it has great potential,” Prajapati said.
Pratyush Kumar, the potter from Kannauj whose designer ‘diyas’ impressed Yogi, said he was doubly pleased.
“I am delighted that my lamps would add to the occasion at Ayodhya’s bhoomi pujan. What delights me even more is that our community’s ‘kala’ (art) would now get a wider audience. The setting up of the Maati Kala Board has been a step in the right direction,” said Kumar.
Since 2017, when an estimated 1.7 lakh earthen lamps were lit up on the banks of the Saryu river, to 2019 – when Ayodhya made it to the Guinness records with 5.5 lakh earthen lamps lit up at the same time – the ‘deepotsav’ has been getting bigger each Diwali. This time, deepotsav is being celebrated a few months ahead of Diwali.