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Meet Maimoon, Uresha & Zulekha, the women of Adalatgunj, who make ‘mitti ka chullah’ for Chhath

Like every year, Muslim families residing in Adalatganj area of the city are busy making ‘mitti ka chullah’ for the Chhath devotees, most of them prepare ‘prasad’ for ‘kharna’ on new earthen stoves.

The four-day Chhath Puja will begin with ‘nahay-khaye’ on October 24 and conclude on October 27 with the morning arghya.

Maimoon Khatoon (70) has been selling earthen stoves for the last five decades. She has prepared 300 such chullahs for the devotees and put them under a tree on the roadside at Beerchand Patel Marg. “People not only appreciate our work, but also shell out more money than what it costs. Devotees still use these chullahs to cook ‘prasad’ for Chhath. One chullah costs between Rs60 and Rs100, depending on its size,” she said.

“We start making chullahs after Dussehra and strictly avoid non-vegetarian food, garlic and onion during this period. These chullahs are made with special care and spirituality,” Maimoon said and admitted that she makes all the stoves in traditional style with determination and make sure that these are kept off any kind of impurity.

The earthen stoves are made in Adalatganj slum area and transported to the Mithapur, Bailey Road, Serpentine Road, Kankerbagh and Beerchand Patel Marg markets. More than 60 families of Adalatganj have been in this business for many years.

Uresha Khatoon (35) at Mithapur is selling earthen stoves at Rs70, double the price than last year. “Due to heavy rain, we faced difficulty in getting soil from river Punpun. The farmer charged Rs3,000 for per tractor soil and Rs1000 for a sack of hay. Earlier, we used to pay Rs1000 for soil and Rs400 for hay,” she said. Generally, she sells steel utensils from door to door.

Zulekha Khatoon not only makes Chhath chullahs but also keep the ‘vrat’ with utmost devotion. “I started making chullahs at the age of 16 and I also want my child to follow this tradition when he grows up. After two miscarriages, I lost hope for a child. An old Muslim woman, who also observed Chhath vrat, told me to perform all the rituals of this festival. It fulfilled all my wishes. Since then, I celebrate this festival with utmost devotion,” she said.

“I never negotiate for price of the chullah. I accept whatever people pay,” said Zulekha (46), who sells chullahs at Kankerbagh.

Usna Khatoon displayed all the essential items for Chhath Puja at Kankerbagh. “Apart from chullahs, we also sell mango bark for cooking prasad. It costs Rs90 for 5kg. Earthen pots, brass ‘soops’ and ‘dalas’ are also available at our makeshift stall. Generally, I sell cutlery sets,” she said.

Source: TNN

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