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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Durga gets a paper makeover

Sanchari Mukherjee, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, September 10, 2013
First Published: 09:40 IST(10/9/2013) | Last Updated: 09:46 IST(10/9/2013)

If you have passed by the Academy of Fine Arts in the past few weeks, you must have come across a nondescript man sitting under a tree and carving out paper models as tiny as a matchstick and also as big as three feet Durga idols.

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Biswajit Das spends the day making these idols and goes off to take shelter with his younger brother at SSKM hospital complex at night.

He is in a hurry to complete a few orders within the next few days and has been saving time with this routine of sitting with his brother under the tree from noon till late in the night and then shifting to the hospital campus.

“I am running out of material to complete a grand Durga idol three feet high. In the past few days, it has been raining in the afternoon and I could not sit here and didn’t have any income, thus couldn’t buy the gum and paper,” said Das on Monday afternoon, just as the sky started to darken again.

He lost his parents at a young age and since then has been parenting his 15-year-old brother, Raj Das, whom he wants to teach his art as well as singing, but with such financial constraints he can only dream of that day.

“While I keep trying to teach him this art, he lacks the patience to do it. But he has a very good voice and I want to give him some formal training as he is also unable to attend school because of my schedule,” he lamented.

Das has been working with paper for the past 11 years and now he is able to etch out poems and drawings like a pro on a grain of rice, or make beautiful sculptures out of jute, glass paper, scrap or waste materials and almost anything that can be moulded.

These days he has been selling the smaller models that he carves out in 10-15 minutes for Rs. 50-100 and the bigger ones that over two-three days for Rs. 1,500-2,000.

“I had always wanted to work for the President’s award and the National Award, but in these 11 years I couldn’t manage to gather enough money to make something grand enough to nominate for those awards or when I got the money, there was no time go for the awards,” he said while carving out a small horse using a square inch paper.

Despite a lot of issues in his life, Das wants to make it big with his art, which he has mastered all by himself over the years and also wishes to teach it to others someday.

Though, as of now he wants to collect enough money to be able participate in an upcoming fair in Jaipur and make some decent income to give his brother a decent life.


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