No gender barriers for Ganesha

Last Updated : 10 September 2010, 17:58 IST
Last Updated : 10 September 2010, 17:58 IST

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People across the state will eagerly welcome, the elephant god, into their homes on Saturday. Ganesha is probably the only god who can occupy most places in the house, and is adored across communities and dons various avatars like idols, paintings, wall paper, art piece, antique and others.

If you enter any Hindu home, you can see his omnipresence at every nook and corner of the house be it the puja room, showcase, living room, study table or even on top of television. Some even have the hobby of collecting the statues of Lord Ganesh.
Coming to the festival, the preparation for the festival starts a week earlier, with women folk cleaning the houses, dusting, mopping to bring home the bachelor God in form of an idol, without which the festival is incomplete.

Though Lord Ganesh is worshipped as the bachelor god, who is said to remove obstacles and bring home prosperity, it is the women who play a major role, right from the making of the Lord, worship to  immersion.

Ganesh festival which had become popular during the freedom struggle in India, especially in Maharshtra, gained momentum and is still being celebrated with the same fervour throughout the country.

The making of the idol of Lord Ganesha begins six months earlier, says Ningamma, who has been into the profession since the past 40 years.

Resident of Kumbarageri after being wedded to a Mysorean, she has been involved in the trade making umpteen number of idols with religious fervour.

Speaking to City Herald, Ningamma said that procuring clay for the idols begins from the
month of March-April. The clay which was being brought from Uttanahalli at the foot of Chamundi Hills are no more available due to the greed of human beings in expanding their territories.

Now, the soil is being brought from the villages at Yelwal, Hunsur and other surrounding villages and the prices have increased with a load of soil costing around  Rs 3,500, she laments.The work of women begins now, when the clay is mixed to the required proportion and moulding of the statues begin.

While the men look after the procuring of materials and orders, it is the women who involve themselves in the process by moulding the statues, which have to be dried for a minimum of 15 days before the painting work begins, she adds.

Making time after their daily chores at home, the soft clay slowly gets transformed into the idols of Gowri and Ganesha with their magical touch. After being dried thoroughly, the idols gets its colour with the perfect combination, sometimes with the women getting a little experimental too.

Ningamma’s son Revanna, who is also in the trade is popular in city for making unique idols every year based on the current developments, events and people in news.
Similarly, this year he has made Octopus Ganesha, recalling the major role played by octopus Paul in the World Cup football tournament, Sachin Tendulkar and others, the sort of news that are known to majority.

Even the children participate in the idol making enthusiastically, painting the idols in exchange to some bit of pocket money. Though they make hundreds of idols that decorate every household on the festival day these potters do not install one at home on the Ganesh Chaturthi day but after successful business, they celebrate on some other day, said Venkatamma.

Rathna, now settled in a nearby village, says that she comes a few days prior to the festival every year to extend help in idol making.

Compared to last year, the demand for eco-friendly Ganesha has increased, thanks to the publicity campaign and awareness. The idol is made of clay and on order, says Rathna. Those required give order two or three days prior to the festival and it does not require any painting works.

Though the women help in making the idols, their contribution is not recognised and people mostly think making Ganesha is the forte of men, laments Venkatamma.

The idols made of plaster of Paris are being brought from Bangalore and Mumbai, which is much sought after by those who like fancy Ganesha idols and has spelt doom to their business, she laments.

 Kumbarageri, which was buzzling with activity during the festival season, has now left with only 10 to 15 families who are involved in the trade, while others have migrated to other places in search of greener pastures.

Published 10 September 2010, 17:58 IST

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