Deyas on display at a local market. —Photo: Dexter Philip

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bright Divali for deya makers

By By Ariti Jankie

Deya manufacturers are expecting a bumper Divali this year and are busy turning out the tiny clay pots for the Festival of Lights to be celebrated on November 5.

Ramcharan Bachu of Tabaquite Road, Rio Claro, said deyas were made throughout the year to supply Divali demands.

However, he added that the shortage of labour prevented him from expanding his business over the years.

"Workers do not apply themselves to the job at hand and it is very difficult to find youths interested in this type of work," he said.

Bachu, 61, has been involved in making deyas and clay pots from an early age and 12 years ago designed and built a machine to manufacture clay products.

"I imported a machine to make clay pots from America and was able to design and build another to make deyas," he said. Deyas are priced at $200 for 1,000 at his factory gate and sold to other wholesalers at $300 for 1,000.

Max Ticklal of Edinburgh Village, Chaguanas said he manufactures between 20,000 and 30,000 deyas a year.

Coming from a line of deya makers, he said most of his relatives who made the traditional vessel for Divali lights had passed on.

"The younger generation chose other more reliable and lucrative jobs," he said.

The deya manufacturers also make special deyas used in Hindu homes for ritual worship. At Divali, eight deyas are lit before dozens of others and placed strategically to light up a night said to the darkest in the year.

The eight deyas evoke the blessing of the home, fulfillment of married life, attainment of wealth, abundant food, a bright pathway in life, intellectual excellence, the goal of perfection and acquisition of high morals and values.

Bachu said the sale of deyas dropped in 2003 following the closure of Caroni (1975) Limited.

"Too many people lost their jobs and since then the sale of deyas declined," he said, adding that the time had come to revive the lighting of deyas.

He said there was greater enthusiasm among the people this year with the change of government.

Deya manufacturers are also calling on government to divert the Unemployment Relief Programme gangs into the industry. Ticklal said there was a good market for flower pots and decorative jars made from clay but "we need labour to revive the industry".

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