“I love lord Krishna-Durga and Shiva,” said San Chandra Dey, a school boy present at Anita Pal’s studio as a witness of the impression of Durga idols, which is changing at every moment with various installation works during the last hour finishing touches of the idol. 

Visiting grandmother’s (Anita Pal) studio seems to be the only option for San (San Chandra Day), a 13-year-old boy in the COVID-19 pandemic hit Assam. 

But there is a twist to this fact of the child’s visit to an artists’ studio. 

San’s mother is also a trained female clay artist, who, apart from being a housewife, married to a non-artisan family, comes to the studio to help her mother and other co-artisans every day.  

And that’s the ‘lead’ of San’s visit. To see her mother Trishna Dey as an artisan. 

“Now in the crisis hours of COVID19, we all are struggling for survival and one cannot feel the pain of survival of artisans as a woman can feel.”, words simply came from Trishna with a different look. 

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Trishna learned the skill of idol making from her father late Shankar Pal, a famous artisan of Guwahati, who died five years back.  

Trishna used to help her father since childhood and got exposure to idol making skills, which she has been enhancing by helping her mother now, widow of late Shankar Pal, one of the female studio owners in Guwahati. 

“I got married 15 years back. My husband works in the private sector, but I had never found any obstacle from my husband or other family members, rather they encouraged my effort to support my mother and nurture my skills of Idol making,” said Trishna Dey amidst her strokes during final ornamentation of the Durga idol which will be delivered on “Maha Panchami Tithi”. 

The story of Trishna Dey, a female artisan of the city, who is wholeheartedly involved in the process of Durga idol making is, though seems like a symbolic representation, but there are female artisans like her elder sister Dipika Pal, along with Shikha Pal, Gauri Dey and more interestingly Sunita Chetri Pal have their own time-tested unique stories as well, following their journey of life in the artisans’ family. 

“I am impressed at Krishna’s zeal to work for Durga idols. Hence always encourage her. In fact, with zero understanding of idol making, now at least I can vouch that not only Krishna, all the female artisans have their uniqueness in keeping this noble profession alive with their significant contribution.” feels Sujit Dey, husband of Krishna who is available all the time in need. 

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The legacy carried by the daughters of an artisan, has its own uniqueness; be it during COVID19 pandemic or in normal days. 

But the fact is that the unnoticed contribution of the female homemakers turned artisans have been taking this legacy well ahead of time. 

(Report filed by Subhamoy Bhattacharjee)

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