New Delhi: With Ravan all set to go up in flames on Tuesday, effigy-makers, this time, had demands from customers to either make an extra effigy of 'terrorism' or the demon king with anti-terrorism slogans, keeping up with the current mood after the cross-LoC strikes by the Indian Army.
While taking a walk down Titarpur, the area around Tagore Garden, that becomes home to effigy makers in the months leading to Dussehra, one can see effigies being loaded into trucks and being sent to various places like Haryana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
However, an effigy that immediately catches attention is a black-coloured giant with slogans like 'Pakistan Murdabad' and 'Nawaz Sharif jaisi karni waisi bharni'.
"We have made 10-12 Ravan effigies with anti-Pakistan messages. This year, many people who ordered Ravan effigies said that they want to send out a strong message against terrorism.
"Many of them have asked us to paint slogans on Ravan condemning terrorism. These effigies have been covered in black paper with messages written in silver," says Mahendra, who has made the effigy.
Every year, the Ravan effigies are made with a theme. "Last year, effigies were given names like Don, Khalnayak and this year, we are seeing the anti-terrorism wave," says Subhash, another effigy maker.
"Many people who wish to avoid any controversy have ordered effigies that are covered in green paper and symbolise Pakistan. They have asked us not to write any messages but they have ordered for green-coloured effigies," says Kishore, another effigy maker.
Effigy makers say that many people have ordered an extra effigy that will be burnt alongside the effigies of Ravan, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath.
"In our Ramlila, we have had posters saluting our soldiers who were killed in the Uri attacks and when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar visited our Ramlila, we had an hour-long programme dedicated to the Indian Army.”
"Tomorrow (Tuesday) when the effigies go up in flames, we will be burning a fourth effigy symbolising terrorism," said Arjun Kumar, secretary, Lav Kush Ramlila Committee.
The Nav Shri Dharmik Lila Committee has opted for a similar way to send a message against terrorism.
"We will have a black-coloured effigy that will have anti-terrorism slogans painted on it and it will be burnt alongside the effigies of Ravan, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran," said Rahul Sharma, press secretary, Nav Shri Dharmik Lila Committee.