God creates man or man creates God? This controversial sentence may hurt many staunch followers; in the congested lanes of North Kolkata the idol-makers of Kumortuli give birth to hundreds of idols every year. This area, locally called Patuapara, has make-shift studios on both sides; though recently for the sake of renovation a portion has been shifted to a red building nearby. The idol-makers have a common surname, Pal. One of the most famous idol-makers of Kolkata was Mohan Banshi Rudra Pal. Now his sons and nephews are carrying on with the tradition.

Ritualistically, the Kathamo puja is done on the Rathyatra day; that day idol making should start. Kathamo is the Bengali name for the bamboo structure. But now it is not feasible due to commercial reasons. So it starts much earlier, because the idols are to be made ready for shipment for export. This year Sasthi is on October 13th; the plastic covered idol is already being sent to South Africa. Every year the Bengali Association of London order for a portable idol of Durga and her children are sent by flight in unassembled parts. For the idols to be sent to the local areas, the earthen coating is just being given.

As rightly said for the almighty everyone is equal the differences are created on Earth. The idol is incomplete if the with clay of Ganga the soil of, yes check your heartbeats, brothels is not mixed! The love and devotion is there but the idol is brought according to the budget.

This year, few scientists of Jadavpur University have recommended for using lead-free eco-friendly colours, trying to control Ganga pollution that is caused by the immersion. But the Patua-s are not very keen on it as these colours are very expensive and not bright. Rain is another factor that scares the entire Kumortuli; the drying process gets delayed and delivery gets delayed too. The decorations are made up of thermocol, sequence, glossy paper; and the weapons of tin. The adjacent areas of Kolkata have artists who make these.

Aryani Banerjee

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