Where passion blends with creativity

Where passion blends with creativity

If there is one craft that attracts all crafts persons, regardless of caste, faith and other differences, it should be the making of Ganeshas for the Ganesh Chathurthi.  

If there is one craft that attracts all crafts persons, regardless of caste, faith and other differences, it should be the making of Ganeshas for the Ganesh Chathurthi.

The call to switch over to the making eco-friendly Ganeshas is of recent origin. But, the making of Ganesh idols has been the mainstay of certain communities for the past few decades in Andhra Pradesh. It is not essential for persons born into such families to be bubbling with creative energy.

All they need is a strong commitment towards the profession. No wonder, potters, goldsmiths and carpenters have been in the profession for the past few decades. Most of them have been making Ganesha, Durga, Shiva and other idols for use during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Dasara and the like.

In Vizianagaram, not only potters, even Kapus, especially Srivaishnavas, are involving in the art and making attractive idols for Ganesh Chaturthi. Janardhana Swamy, an artiste of the Srivaishnava community, says: “This is an art, which is a gift of God by birth.

So, we have been doing this for the past 70 years. I like to say this is not a profession, job or something; this is an art which we can continue with only passion. Without strong desire, interest in this job we cannot mould the clay into attractive idols. Even my son Pradeep has been working with me for the past 10 years.

Even he has passion for the work and will continue in this trade. If we think that making idol is a job or profession, we can’t make justice to the idol. Unless we have passion, we can’t give birth to the idol with our hands.”

Artistic ability or creativity is not a hereditary property to carry forward like any other properties to one’s children and grandchildren. Only the person who can get involved in the work can continue his profession, while the remaining persons are required to search another work for his livelihood.

For the past few years, Ramana, Eswara Rao and some others of Kummari veedhi of Vizianagaram town have been making Ganesh, Durga Matha, Shiva idols with plaster of Paris, coir and special clay that is softener than the one that is available here. Later, they make up the statues with attractive water colours.

According to Ramana, it costs anywhere between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 50,000 to make a Ganesh idol, based on the size and material used. “Nowadays, youths in villages and towns are interested in celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in a grand manner.

So, they are ready to spend lakhs of rupees for the festival. Installing an attractive idol is very important here and they approach with plans to make different types of Ganesha idols for Ganesha Chaturthi, which falls on 25 August this year.”

Sometimes, depending on size and material used, the Ganesh idol may cost around Rs. 2 lakh. “This year we are making a special Ganesha ordered by ZP Chairperson Dr.Swathi Rani to be installed at S.Kota, costing around Rs 5 lakhs.

The Ganesh idol would be iconic in this area. The pandal would consist of other idols, including that of Lord Venkateswara. We concentrate on the beauty of the idol, rather than the income from it.” Janarthana Swamy said.

The crafts persons have emotional attachment to the idols they make. “We can’t control our emotions while sending them to pandals from our workplace. Anyhow, we are not in the job for better income, but for name and fame,” they say.

G Ganesh, husband of Dr Swathi Rani, said: “We feel proud to instal huge Ganapathi idols in my village. Thousands of devotees, including MLAs, Ministers and bureaucrats, will visit the God and spend some time there. Every year this is a big event for youth like us to celebrate with the support of the public. We believe that Ganesha would bless us to have prosperous future.”

By Koppara Gandhi

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