Durga sculptors make hay during Dashain

- Shyam Sundar Sashi, Janakpur
Durga sculptors make hay during Dashain

Sep 28, 2014-

With the onset of festive season, sculptors have their hands full carving goddess Durga’s clay statues in the town. So much so that a single team of artists are sculpting such sculptors at four major Shakti Peethas (temples of the goddess Shakti) in the town. Jogi Pandit, one of the renowned sculptors in the region, has been busy making the statue of the Hindu goddess at Ramananda Chowk in Janakpur, Banauli in Mahottari, Banauta and his hometown Bahuarwa in Dhanusha district.

Even Pandit’s son, Amarjeet, a ninth grader at a local school, can be found busy sculpting such statues along with friends Manoj Das and Santosh Thakur. Amarjeet said that they see good prospect in the profession of sculpting statues. Meanwhile, along with Pandit, fifty other renowned sculptors like Bikau Mandal of Dhanusha, Dhanushi Pandit of Rupaitha, Mutuk Pandit of Mithileshwor, and Ram Chandra Mandal Khatwe of Phoolgama, to name a few, have been sculpting statues everyday at various sites carrying religious and historical significance all over Dhanusha.

Although only sculptors from Kumhar (Pandit) community used to be engaged in this profession in the past, people from other communities too have started to find the profession lucrative enough to earn their livelihood. However, for the Kumhars, carving statues of gods and goddesses is still the traditional profession of their community who work with clay to make pottery, small statues of Lord Ganesha, Saraswati, Bishowkarma, Chitragupta, and large statues of gods and goddesses during the major Hindu festivals such as Dashain, Tihar, samachakewa, and janmashtami. According to retired assistant lecturer Ramsagar Pandit, who is also the central vice-chairman of Nepal Prajapati Kumhar Association, although Kumhars enjoyed monopoly in the profession for a long time, it was only but natural for people from other communities to take up the lucrative profession during times like these.

Meanwhile, Pandit also said that sculptors engaged in this profession should have essential knowledge regarding Hindu religion and ‘Tantrik Bidhya’ (mystical arts). “The sculptors themselves carry out religious rituals before starting their work and continue to practice them in the course of sculpting the statues,” Pandit said, adding one should be very cautious while etching the eye that requires a special kohl.

It takes at least 3-4 skilled sculptors and a week to complete a set of statues. According to Pandit, a group of sculptors make a profit ranging from Rs 100,000-300,000, after cutting all overhead charges, annually.

According to local, Rajendra Sah of Shivapath, Janakpur-1, there is a clear shortage of sculptors. Unlike in the past when Durga Pooja used to be held in one or two villages only, these days such poojas are organised in almost every settlements.

Published: 29-09-2014 09:02

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