He is only 10 years old but has picked up the hammer, chisel and paint brush to help out his family financially. Manoj Chakraborty, a class 4 student and a resident of Malda’s Sukanta Pally, is making a Durga idol this year. Manoj’s father Jagabandhu Chakraborty is an artisan. But in this age of innovation and tough competition, he only gets a handful of orders to make Durga idols every year.
As luck would have it, however, a very old family of Malda has asked Manoj to make a Durga idol for them this year. So, with the grand festival less than two weeks away, Manoj is busy giving final touches to his creation. In a single frame structure, there will be goddess Durga, her children and Mahishasur. The idol will only be 5 feet in height.
Jag abandhu was once a renowned artisan in Malda town. But he is now finding it tough to come up with modern or innovative themes for the puja committees in keeping with the changing times. What he now earns is not enough for his family to live comfortably throughout the year. He has three children, a wife and elderly parents at home. He has to bear the cost of his children’s education and other expenditure from his income as an idol-maker. So this year, little Manoj decided to lend a helping hand to his father by making a Durga idol.
Manoj is a student of class 4 and studies at Bablabona Primary School. Whenever he finds a little free time, he works on the idols. As word of Manoj’s ‘project’ spread, his neighbours are now gathering at Jagabandhu’s studio to see the 10-year-old’s work. Already, the boy has received high praise for his work which is yet to be completed.
A neighbour said that the boy is very studious and every year, secures very good marks in his examinations. But they weren’t aware of his talent as an artist. Now, Manoj’s project has become a talking point in many households at Sukanta Pally.
When contacted, Manoj said that this year he was not just making a Durga idol singlehandedly but also helping his father make some other idols. He said that he will paint the idols — which he is making for a renowned family of Malda — and decorate them himself.
Describing his father as his guru and his inspiration, Manoj said he has learnt a lot of things from the former. He added that he was making the idol after returning from school. Often, he returns from private tuition to work on the idols. Manoj loves football and cricket and cheers for his country but doesn’t have time to play any games now. His endeavour to help his family will, however, continue. Manoj has decided to make the idols of Lakshmi, Kali and other gods and goddess henceforth.
Manoj also said that though his father is making four Durga idols this year, it is very hard for the latter to run the family from his income. So, he will continue helping his father. He added he is dreaming of becoming the best artisan in Malda.