In Kumartuli, Durga idol-makers, on-line influencers get busy forward of Puja season

Idol-maker Indrajit Pal posing with one in every of his creations. 
| Picture Credit score: Bishwanath Ghosh

As Kumartuli gears as much as ship Durga idols to lots of of pandals throughout Kolkata, social media influencers are additionally on the upswing within the potters’ colony

Amid the bustle that Kumartuli is for the time being, Kaushik Ghosh is an image of calm on this riverside settlement of idol-makers in north Kolkata the place artisans are hurrying to fulfill deadlines and social media-users are crowding their workshops to pose for cameras.

Mr. Ghosh makes solely fibre-glass Durga idols which might be despatched overseas and he has already shipped his creations. This 12 months, he has made 37 units of idols — the very best he has ever made — and they’re all solely their option to totally different components of the world: China, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa, United Kingdom, Dubai.

“Actually, I gained’t even be right here throughout Durga Puja. I’m off to London two days later. There are about 45 pujas held within the UK, and idols for a minimum of 30 of them have been despatched by me. So, I’ve been invited by them to take part within the celebrations. I’m trying ahead to the carnival alongside the Thames,” he tells The Hindu as he watches with amusement hordes of selfie-takers barge into Kumartuli, a lot to the irritation of fellow artisans who don’t have any time to lose.

Indrajit Pal is sitting in his tiny however airconditioned workplace in a slim lane; he took orders for 11 units of idols this 12 months and so they all must be given ending touches.

“These people who find themselves coming in to make Instagram and Fb reels, they’re a nuisance in addition to a blessing. Whereas on the one hand they trigger disturbance, then again they’re additionally popularising Kumartuli. This place in addition to our occupation must be extra in style,” says Mr. Pal, whose solely baby, Hrittika, is a software program engineer.

In line with him, and plenty of different artisans, regardless that enterprise in Kumartuli has improved from the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the income have successfully been restored solely to the pre-pandemic days whereas costs of uncooked materials have gone up drastically.

“A set of idols that bought for, say, ₹80,000 in 2019 ought to have been promoting for ₹1.2 to 1.5 lakh this 12 months. However the value dropped to ₹60,000 throughout the pandemic and has now climbed again to ₹80,000, perhaps a little bit extra. So, we haven’t gained a lot, however issues appear to be trying up slowly,” he says.

China Pal, the one girl in Kumartuli within the idol-making enterprise, won’t reveal the variety of idols she is engaged on this 12 months — it’s a commerce secret for her — however she says enterprise has been good — “nearly as good as final 12 months”.

Ms. Pal hardly has the time to speak: her staff need her consideration, journalists from outdoors Kolkata need her quotes, whereas her clients are calling to search out out after they can come to gather their set of Durga idols. “One factor new for me this 12 months is that I’ve made the idols for a pandal in New City the place the puja will probably be carried out by ladies,” she says.

By this weekend, most idols would attain the neighbourhoods they’re meant for and the bustle that’s Kumartuli will shift to totally different corners of Kolkata. Solely that the bustle will assume a special title: celebration.

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