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Future of idol-making artisans in darkness
Ambunath sharma

 GAURIPUR, Sept 16 - The idols makers of Devi Durga and her siblings of Gauripur, Golakganj, Halakura etc., are facing an uncertain future and their lives seem to be lost in darkness.

These artisans are traditionally making various types of idols of Gods and Goddesses during the year but presently they are suffering a lot of problems due to the soaring prices of commodities necessary for making of idols like like bamboo, paddy straw, thread etc. Three types of adhesive clay, various types of colours, clothes, ornaments, weapons etc., have become highly costly. Moreover, they have to hire labourers to finish the idols within specifications. These materials are also not locally available and as a result they have to purchase these essential materials from Kolkata at high prices and also GST.

The total cost of a fully-finished Durga idol is approximately Rs 15,000 and the artisans have to sell the idol for at least Rs 20,000 to make a profit but they don’t get the amount at a time. The puja committees make payments in instalments. This has made the artisans financially weak.

Artisans Babul Paul, Binoy Kumar Paul, Dudhir Paul, Munindra Malakar, Karen Malakar, Santi Paul Malakar of Golakganj are now very busy in giving finishing touches to the idol of Devi Durga and her siblings.

Babul Paul, a famous artisan of Gauripur total this correspondent that only by making the idol of Devi Durga, he could not earn his livelihood and as such he make varieties of idols of Gods and Goddesses over the year. Moreover, he makes idols especially of dolls and sells these idols in the local melas. Karen Malakar, a State awardee artisan makes idols from sala, a plant growing on marshy ground and sells them the whole year.

Due to increase in prices of the materials every year, the artisans are losing interest in their work and the younger generation too does not seem to be interested in the profession and is looking for other engagements. The government should come forward to help these poor artisans to survive otherwise aliens will surely take a chance and capture the profession in the near future, opined a section of entightened citizens of the area.

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