Monday, September 03, 2007
Early signs of Puja
The early signs of Puja (Durga Puja), Bengal's largest event of every year, are visible. Advertisements of special Puja numbers by local Bengali magazines, a special series on Star Ananda on the writers' views on what they've written in this year's Puja numbers, hoardings of Puja committes about this year's themes and seeking sponsorship, updates of Kumartuli, the hub of making idols for the Puja et al.
Found it a little difficult to stomach that the talented artists who make the fascinating idols make only 10-15% profit by selling their work in India, after months of toil and suffering due to weather playing spoilsport every now and then thereby making it unfairly challenging to deliver on time. They are more interested in selling to parties abroad who offer better prices.
The eminent Puja committes apparently earn huge through sponsorship and subscription, but are not ready to pay the idol artists who are behind the main attraction of visiting a Puja pandal- the idols. They take advantage of the poor artisans not being adept at negotiating and demanding a fair price of their work. They are apparently more open to pay the new-age Puja artists, having passed out of art college, who design and make the entire pandal besides the idol with their artistic expression that often challenge the tradition but win prizes for best idol, best pandal etc.