Muslim artisans prepare Ravana effigies for Dusshera celebrations

Fatehgarh Sahib: In a reflection of communal harmony, Muslim artisans are giving final touches to Ravana's effigies for Dusshera celebrations in the district.

Work here is being carried out on war footing to prepare effigies of Ravana and his brothers Meghnad and Kumbhkaran. Year after year, Muslim artisans come especially to Fatehgarh Sahib district to prepare effigies of Ravana. The tradition has not been broken for the last several decades.

At cremation ground of Sirhind these effigies are being prepared by Muslim artisans of Khanna.

Saleem, a resident of Ucha Vehra of Khanna town, Ludhiana, who was busy in preparing 40 feet high effigy of Ravana, said he had prepared these effigies in Machiwara last year but this time they were hired by a Sirhind based organisation. He said his several generations were in this work.

Saleem was accompanied by his son Ali who studied up to class VII and two other artisans. He said several Muslim artists were making effigies of the demon king. He said there were 35 to 40 feet high structures, made out of bamboo and covered with rags, waiting to be covered and dressed up with colourful papers.

He explained that the job required much skill as the bamboo sticks have to be turned to a specific angle. "The tall structure has to be strengthened using wooden rods so that it stands upright. Arms, faces and weapons too given a specific shape.

"It has to be stuffed with paper and crackers so that it could be set alight. Use of coloured paper for making it
attractive, too requires skill," he explained. Majority of these artisans do other kind of works. Close to Dusshera, they adopt this job to earn a fortune.

Craftsmen, reflecting religious amity, said they were enjoying making the structures even as they knew that these were meant for a Hindu festival. "For us, all religions are alike. We do not have any religious differences in our mind," they said.

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