• Friday, Oct 22, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:38 pm

Durga Puja: Covid crumbles market for Kurigram artisans

  • Published at 10:30 am September 25th, 2021
Durga idols at Dhaka’s Dhakeshwari Temple Durga idols at Dhaka’s Dhakeshwari Temple - Bangladesh
File photo of Durga idol at Dhaka’s Dhakeshwari Temple Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Some artisans also complain of shrinking profits due to the rise in the price of raw materials used for making idols of deities

Kurigram has a long tradition of celebrating the annual Hindu festival of Durga Puja, where huge crowds cutting across religious lines visit pandals just to have a glimpse of the idol of goddess Durga.

These idols are, in fact, sculpted from mud and straw by specialist artisans, before being taken to the pandals for worship for a week. And these artisans usually earn the most during the Hindu festive season. But the second wave of the pandemic has made them anxious about business again, with fears of muted celebrations looming large.

Pal Para and Kumar Para are the two localities of potters in Kurigram town, where artisans -- in normal times -- get irritated by usual distractions in the form of onlookers. But this year too, they are a worried lot and seemingly have all the time in the world to explain their plight. The situation is the same in other potter localities of the district, including Kathalbari.

Most of the potters claim to have received orders for just eight to 10 idols this year, and that too from puja committees in the district, as against the usual 20-22 in pre-Covid years.

"In 2020, we lost all our savings. This year, we were hoping for a turnaround to tide over the losses. Though the situation is marginally better this year, not a single artisan in the area has got an order from outside the district because of the second wave of the pandemic," says Kalikanto Pal, an artisan in Kathalbari.

Some artisans also complain of shrinking profits due to the rise in the price of raw materials used for making idols of deities. They blame the second wave of the pandemic and the consequent nationwide lockdown for the same.

"We had no option but to reduce the price of idols this year to bag some orders. At the same time, the price of raw materials has risen this year. Though we have managed to bag some eight to 10 orders each this year, this price rise will further reduce our profit margins. It's a double whammy for us," rues Sushil Pal, another idol maker.

Kolpona Rani, a female artisan, says that she and her husband have been making idols in the Sobondaha area of the Ghogadaha union for the past 25 years. "This year, we have taken orders for as low as Tk10,000 for a small-size idol of Hindu deity just to ensure two square meals a day for our family," she says.

This year, district authorities have given permission to organize Durga Puja in 510 pandals across Kurigram. 

The five-day event begins on October 11.

54
Facebook 53
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail