Divine creativity: This year, it’s Ganesha, the destroyer of corona
Ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival on Saturday, most idol-makers have been worried about their livelihoods getting hit because of the restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But Niloy Mitra, a post-graduate in fine arts, is upbeat, saying their concept-based idols like ones showing Lord Ganesha as a destroyer of Covid-19 has been doing the trick by fetching them higher prices. Mitra has set up a workshop along with several artisans to make idols in Lucknow’s Talkatora Industrial Area’s Labour Colony this festive season .
“You have to think differently to sell your products. The pandemic has hurt us economically, but has not hit our creativity. It has brought out more creative ideas out of my team,” said Mitra. “Thinking about creativity in idol making, we decided to relate the subject of idols with coronavirus. We thought Lord Ganesha could be our saviour and we are praying that he destroys coronavirus. With a bit of creativity, we can sell the idols at a higher price.”
Mitra said there are idols in which one can see Ganesha as destroyer of coronavirus. “In some, he is defending Ladakh from evil forces,” he said, referring to the India-China border standoff in Ladakh. “Some idols show him as God of prosperity while in others he is blessing everyone for development.”
Mitra, whose father was an idol-maker and an artist, said he set up his own workshop here and roped in more fine arts students.
Subrot, another artisan preparing idols of Ganesha, said due to ban on pandals, puja samitis (committees) are not purchasing idols. “Only individuals are coming to purchase idols of Lord Ganesha and they are appreciating new concepts and are ready to pay more for them.”
He said Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja and Diwali were boom time for them but the pandemic has hit their sales. “But idols with a concept are selling at higher rates.”
Lucknow’s additional municipal commissioner, Amit Kumar said last year over 100 pandals of Ganesh Puja were set up across the city. “But this year setting up of pandals is not allowed due to the pandemic. Gatherings in parks or pandals will not be allowed.”
Anurag Sahu of Lucknow’s Daliganj Ganesh Puja Samiti cited government orders and said they were not going to set up their pandal on the banks of Gomti on Nadwa road. “But we will offer prayers to Lord Ganesh at the temple.”