Jamshedpur : With Durga Puja just days away, the artistic hands in the city are busy round the clock giving finesse to the idols of goddess Durga.
This is the period they eagerly await every year — when they get the opportunity to showcase their talent. The artisans are busy decorating the Durga idols in the best possible ways to be installed in the pandals where the public will come in large numbers to pay obeisance to the goddess.
The festival fetched the sculptors a good scope to earn livelihood after passing a remarkable period of idle time round the year. Most of such artistes usually witness a dull time and live in economic hardship despite the fact that they had the art of making idol of goddess cherished over generations with a great passion.
They get some works only ahead of large festivals like Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja. The number of orders for making idols is increasing gradually. Yet, it would be difficult for many to run families with what they would earn from their work.
City-based famous artist Durga Mahato of Mahto Para Road Jugsalai has spent half his life in creating some of the best Durga idols. But, he is little disappointed with the present way of celebrations.
“The excitement and enthusiasm which people showed earlier for the festival has gone missing now, but still the goddess Durga will always remain at an esteemed place in our hearts,” lamented the artist.
Along with his son he is busy giving final touches to the clay and straw figures of the goddesses. Their dedication towards the work clearly depicts their love for the deity. One of the best works displayed by them was the ten-armed goddess of fertility who vanquished the buffalo demon Mahishasura.
Nearly 26 idols in different sizes – from three and half feet to 18 feet were placed in rows. No doubt, it is not an easy job. “It takes six months to make idols and entails lot of hard work,” said Mahto.
“We are finishing off our work and completing orders,” said veteran artisan Dhananjoy Kumar. His business is always at its peak at this time of the year. “I have made statues for nine temples in the district headquarters.
I am charging Rs 25,000-to 40,000 for each idol. Though the cost of inputs is steep this year, I get my highest returns on this occasion,” he said.
Like him over 100 idol-makers of the district are hopeful of raking in profits.
He said they now charge higher amount of money for idols since prices of materials, including soil, hay, yarn, jute, bamboo, nail and paints, have also increased over the last few years.
Some sculptors demand less charge to get more orders. They make idols hurriedly without maintaining the quality and beauty when they deprive sincere sculptors of what they really deserve, alleged both Dulal and Ratan, complaining of financial insolvency in this profession.
Love and respect from the devotees made them continue to be in the profession till today, they went on to say.