Published On : Fri, Aug 30th, 2019

PoP idols preying on livelihood of traditional artists

Market of clay idols witnessing steady downfall over the years

Nagpur: Every year Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) issues standardizing norms to differentiate idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) and clay during the festive season. However, on the contrary, the civic body fails abysmally to implement its own directives on the ground level. This year too, the NMC official offers to provide a market for the traditional artists to sell clay idols at Kasturchand Park, but it remained on the paper itself. Owing to the apathy of NMC the traditional artists are facing a severe crisis, as the clay idols market witnessing incessant downfall since past few years.

Speaking to Nagpur Today, the artists from Kumbharpura in Juni Mangalwari and Chitar Oli narrated their agony that how PoP idols are preying on their business.

Arun, a 24-year-old young boy, living in Kumbharpura elaborated that his family makes around 50 Ganpati idols each year. However, demand is decreasing these days. “People know that they will get idols on time at the nearby market. Hence we do not get orders as we used to, earlier. I think PoP idols are the prime reason behind this downfall. If the clay models are sold at Rs 1000, PoP is just of Rs 600 bucks. For people, this is the catching point. And here, we lose the battle”, he added.

“I am the youngest one in the family, but I’ve seen it all. Now, I don’t want our coming generation to face the same issue and that is why we are inclining them towards education,” says Arun.

Another sculptor Ganesh Kapate said, “We make 200-250 Bappa idols every year. However, the co-operation from NMC is not much. I think there should be a proper market and space at an affordable cost for artists like us to get a deserved value for our work. We sell idols ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 5000. But every year,,we prefer not to go inside the market area, like at Chitar Oli or somewhere else, because of the expensive land cost. Whoever comes to us, we sell the idols to them at a wholesale price.”

“As it is clay, every single idol of ours takes far more days than PoP (Plaster of Paris) ones to be ready. And even after that, we are fighting for our existence”, he said while expressing his ordeal.

While the artists are facing this crisis at Kumbharpura, the lavishing Chitar Oli is no exemption either.

One of the biggest makers of Ganpati idols, who are popular for crafting ‘Raje Bhosale’ Ganpati, the Bind family shares almost similar agony they are currently facing. The youngest one in the family, Dinesh says, “PoP makes have destroyed the entire market. We make idols for big pandals mostly, but due to the excessive rules and regulations, even their numbers are decreasing. We are getting a few orders. They are decreasing each year. On the one hand, we spend 2 to 3 months creating a Ganpati idol and on the other, PoP models just flood into the market two days before the festival and gets lump sum profit. The future is very blurred and the NMC needs to wake up for us,” said the artist.

by Shubham Nagdeve