The much awaited Durga Puja is knocking on the door and the artisans are busy giving the final touch to the idols. The artisans have faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the government has allowed celebrating the festival without much hue and cry.
It is during the durga puja time that we can see smile in the face of the artisans as this is the only source of livelihood but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to face challenges as the government restricts the committees to organize the puja to celebrate on low key affair for which the artists have faced loses in their business.
The artisans who are engaged in the business of making idols since ages have faced huge crisis this year amid the pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic has left us handicapped as the orders for Durga Puja is very less. We used to get 15 orders earlier but this time we received orders for idols from only 4 committees,” said one of the artisans.
Another artists Binita Pal said, “We have received 11 orders but the rate is very less. A big idol which costs around 70-80,000, this year the same idol we have to sale at Rs. 30,000. This time not a single idol has been sold beyond Rs. 30K. We are facing losses but we have to sale the idols. We have not gained any profit but as this has been a passion we are continuing the business.”
She further stated, “I have two helpers and I have to pay them whatever the situation is because they are doing their hard work. This is a business of our ancestors and therefore it has become a passion and Durga Puja is a festival which we like the most and making idols is another level of happiness that we get.”
“We need atleast 1 month to complete the idols and our work starts from Viswakarma puja and making idols has been a great pleasure for us. Last year we received orders for small idols but this year we received orders for large idols,” said Pal.
Pandal hopping with your favourite ones, eating, having fun in the puja pandals are the things which we wait for to celebrate during Durga puja but the festival has been celebrated with low key affair last year and this year too, the government has allowed the committees to celebrate without any theme so that people cannot gather at a one place for long.
Other than in Guwahati, the artisans in other parts of the state have also faced similar crisis. In Baihata Chariali too, a youth artisan Rahul Sarma runs his family by making idols but this year he has to face the same crisis. Earlier, he used to receive 10-12 orders but this year, Sarma only received 7 orders.