RAJSHAHI: Sculptors and other artists concerned commonly known as pauls are passing their days in making clay images of Hindu goddess ahead of the community’s biggest Durga Puja festival in Rajshahi city and nine upazilas of the district along with its adjacent areas.
With barely over a two weeks left for the largest religious festival of the Hindu community, the Pauls are working round the clock to make sure that the idols are ready in time.
Most of such Pauls 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.
The workers hope for earning better profits this year as the number of puja mandaps (pandal) has increased in the region. They will get good return as the price of each idol has increased from Tk 4,000 to Tk 6,000.
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 works.
Kartik Paul, an idol maker of Alupotti area of the city, who received order for making several idols, said cost of raw materials including earth, rope, straw, bamboo and jute for idol shave highly been increased but their remuneration has remained the same for the last several years.
“Now I have very little time to sleep as the idols are to be completed as per work orders. However, our business suffers this season due to increase in sculptors’ charges and high prices of raw materials,” said Kartik.
“Five to eight workers need 10-15 days for making a large idol while smaller ones need around two weeks each,” he added. He further informed that about one hundred Paul groups of Rajshahi are now busy making idols for mandops and they have already completed 60 per cent works of making the idols.
Swapon Ghosh, a devotee who supervises a puja mandop in Kumarpara area of the city, informed preparations for the upcoming Durga Puja have become costlier due to high price of the raw materials as well as increased charges of idol makers, purohits and dhakis.
Tapan Kumar Sen, trustee of Hindu Religion Welfare Trust, told BSS that the Durga puja will be celebrated from October 18 to 22. Respective district administration sources said that special security measures will be taken and traffic management would be ensured on this occasion.
Around 500 sculptors are engaged in making idols for Durga Puja in the region. One of them says he along with his assistant will make 10-12 idols.
Decorations of temples, lighting, and setting up of mandaps have already begun giving a festival look in the city.
Busy putting finishing touches to the idols, they are pleased with the orders they have received from places both within and outside of the district like Chapainawabgonj, Naogaon, Natore, Bogra, Joypurhat, Pabna and and Sirajganj, said some artisans in the city.
When contacted, Md Shamsuddin, Commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, said tight security measures will be taken during the festival in the city. —BSS