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Diwali bazaar with a twist
NIDHI GUPTA  23rd Oct 2011

The Diwali bazaar at the Blind Relief Association

ith Diwali becoming synonymous with novelty, opulence and frantic consumerism, bazaars and exhibitions are mushrooming across Delhi's residential areas. The one that stands out is the Blind Relief Association's annual week-long Diwali bazaar, held every year next to the hotel Oberoi. It has become an occasion in its own right, much looked forward to by patrons and clients alike.

"I've seen a time when the bazaar was only a table with candles displayed on it, under a single overhead lamp, with none of the associated pomp and fair. Even then, we had enough buyers to leave the stall sold-out in 4-5 days," reminisces Kailash Chandra Pande, the executive secretary of the Blind Relief Association. He has been working with the organisation since 1967 and has seen the bazaar flourish into a hugely popular event, with over 200 stalls set up by NGOs, designers, retailers and wholesalers from different parts of the city.

The proceeds from the sale of products made by the vocational trainees at the school, including 70 varieties of candles and diyas, handloom and stationery products, and the rent for space at the bazaar (Rs 40,000 – 50,000 per 100 sq ft.) go towards the maintenance and running of the school, its 200 students, the teachers and affiliated staff all year round. "With the bazaar, we manage to collect about Rs 60-70 lakh, which take care of about 20% of our needs. Then there are donations and a grant from the government," Pande elaborated. The landmark fiesta of colour and glitter truly reflect the 'do good, feel good' sentiment.

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