This Muslim family has been making Ravana effigies since three generations
The Vaishali maidan in Meerut has witnessed the burning of Ravana effigy since the time of the British. Aslam’s grand-father used to make the effigies then. Now Aslam and his sons have taken over
Mohit Saini 7 Oct 2019 9:11 AM GMT
It's Dussehra and Aslam's family is excited. After all, three generations of Aslam's family have been making Ravana's effigies.
"My father and grand-father used to make Kumbhkaran and Meghnath's effigies. This time we have built an 80-feet tall Ravana effigy. The effigy is mounted on a chariot that will have four horses. It will have revolving eyes and its weapons will move too," said Aslam, an artisan who lives in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. The Vaishali maidan in Meerut, where the Ravana effigy would be burnt, has witnessed the tradition since the time of the British.
Aslam said making effigies is helping the family earn its bread and butter for past many years and the family is helping spread communal harmony in the region. They started this business in 1979 with Rs 1,400, now they spend around a lakh in making these effigies.
"We have been doing this since 1980. My father used to make effigies. Then I took over. I have four sons who help me now. We also make the kavads during the shravan month. We walk from Haridwar to Meerut and offer our prayers to the Shivlinga.
Talking about his business back then, Aslam said: "In 1980, curfew had been imposed in Meerut. The Army was deployed and there were police all around. I made the Ravana effigy even then and it was burned amid the armed forces. The curfew was relaxed for 12 hours."
"My grand-father used to make effigies during the time of Britishers. He inspired us to take this up. We have been earning our bread and butter since then thanks to this. We also take up decorating jobs in temples, mosques and gurudwaras," said Aslam.
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