Deft hands that made lord Ganesha

Professional touch

D Puttaswamy’s grandson S Raghavendra at the workshop in Mysore. DH Photos

Now, it’s that time of the year, and the families that have kept the art alive, are busy giving final touches to the idols, with buyers making a beeline. Thanks to the lord, demand still remains though plaster of paris made idols are making inroads.

Many do not know there is an interesting story behind how the hands here turned out deft makers of Gowri-Ganesha idols. D Puttaswamy who belonged to the family of potters, had a formal education in modelling at Chamarajendra Technical Institute (now Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts) from 1928 to 1933.

He also learnt the nuances of sculptor making for a year from Doring, a reputed sculptor from Germany.

Buoyed by the successful completion of the course, he opened ‘Evergreen model works’ on fifth cross, Ashoka road here.

The creative genius in Puttaswamy took him to heights with most of his make- Gowri-Ganesha idols, dasara dolls either made of clay, plaster, cement or pulp gaining popularity in no time.

A three-foot tall doll of Gopalakrishna had bagged gold medal in a competition organised by Mysore Dasara Exhibition Committee in 1944. A life-size statue of Maharaja Moujinath Bau in Tulajapura in Hyderabad made from the stable of Puttaswamy catapulted him to fame.

He was feted with a gold medal, according to a handbook brought out on the occasion of the great artiste’s death ceremony in 1986. Puttaswamy’s grandson S Raghavendra has continued with the job after the demise of his father Sreenivasmurthy.

Says Naganna, brother-in-law of Puttaswamy-almost all who later found job in idol making in the locality had initial training with Puttaswamy. Anybody interested in learning the ropes were welcome there, adds Naganna pointing to the two storeyed building almost falling apart, that still remains the workshop for Puttaswamy’s descendants.

Apart from Mysore, the idols made here had huge demand in Bangalore too, he says with pride. Now, a person from Malleswaram is the lone customer remaining who still places big orders.

However, the cost of sand- pase mannu and jedi mannu ( types of sand available in rural areas being hard and sticky when rolled into a ball) adds to their worries.

A cart load of sand costs anywhere between Rs 1,800 and Rs 2,000. Similar is the wage of labourers who mix it, making it fit to be used. It’s available in Udbur, Talur, Bannur, T Narsipura in the district and also near KRS. But, it’s not easy to extract, as the locals oppose for the reason that, they can make some extra buck if sold to brick kilns. Of late, the same types of sand are mixed with red soil in brick making to add to  the strength.

When Deccan Herald went around the aisles of the locality on Saturday, the artistes irrespective of men and women were busy preparing the idols. Revanna, one such artiste said, most of the people are going for plaster of paris made idols, but still it’s not environment friendly.

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