October 19, 2021

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Ravana cut down to size in Lucknow, courtesy inflation, Covid-19

Ravana cut down to size in Lucknow, courtesy inflation, Covid-19

Ravana effigies have been hit by the rising costs of paper and bamboo, while there is added pressure to use eco-friendly fire crackers, which is again a costly proposition.

Gone are the days when Lucknowites used to see giant Ravana effigies — some as tall as 121ft — being burnt on Dussehra at Aishbagh along with huge effigies of Kumbhkarn and Meghnad.

Rising inflation and the pandemic has taken a toll on Ravan effigies, while the effigies of Kumbhkarna and Meghnad have altogether disappeared.

Now, even the oldest Ramleela of the city in Aishbagh has only an 80-feet-tall Ravan effigy, while the effigy in Mausambagh Ramleela is just 40 feet tall. In Rajajipuram, the effigy of Ravan is about 35 feet tall.

Aditya Dwivedi, secretary, Aishbagh Ramleela committee, said, “Though the Covid-19 restrictions have eased, we are still not fully out of the pandemic. Protocols are still in place to avoid the third wave of the pandemic. The market is still dull so the contribution from people is not that great. The budget for the Ramleela has been increasing every year because everything is becoming costly. Inflation is on the rise so the height of the Ravan effigy had to be reduced while we decided to do away with the effigies of Kumbhkarna and Meghnad.”

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Ghanshyam Agarwal of Mausamganj Ramleela Committee said everything has become twice as expensive compared to last year. “With our limited budget and scare of Coronavirus we can only manage a 40-feet-tall effigy of Ravan,” he said.

Artisan Ashok Kumar, who has been making effigies of Ravana for the last 20 years said, “The cost of Ravan has almost doubled compared to last year. While the price of paper and bamboo have risen, we have to also use eco-friendly crackers which don’t create pollution. All this only adds to the cost. However, to reduce the cost many Ramleela committees have reduced the size of their effigies.”

He said, “In the past, many private housing societies used to order Ravan effigies of 20 feet. They are now ordering just 5 to 10-feet-tall Ravan effigy. Effigies of Kumbhkarn and Meghnad have not been ordered this year.”

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