…And the final countdown has begun. The overnight work pressure of the Guwahati city artisans for the last two weeks to meet the commitment of the puja committees has reached its final lap.
But for the clay artists, it was a major challenge to overcome all odds of idol making due to much less time-frame to complete the job.
The ‘SOP’ of the Assam government, issued on September 15, 2021, changed the scenario before the struggling clay artisans who tried their best for survival during the COVID19 pandemic.
But Durga Puja, being the only source of proper earning for yearly savings, put many hurdles before the artisans which touched their souls.
“We welcome the liberal approach of the Assam government towards Durga Puja celebration. But before issuing the SOP with minimum days at hand, the authorities could have thought about our condition. How do the clay artisans make up this huge demand of puja committees for Durga idols?” questioned Ratan Pal, one of the renowned clay artisans of the city while taking rest for a while amidst tremendous workload during the last-minute finishing of the work.
It is to be mentioned here that examining all pros and cons the “general guidelines for puja and upcoming festivals, 2021” was issued by the Health and Family Welfare department of Assam under the order No HLA 264 /2020/ 55, dated September 15, 2021 which specifically mentioned Durga Puja guidelines.
Moreover, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) issued an order regarding effective measures of COVID19 on October 1, 2021, which has a ‘Special Advisory for Durga Puja’ as well.
Now, the biggest concern among the artisans is that a few among them are still in a fix to deliver the Durga idols at the right time for which they are struggling overnight for the last few weeks. And the rituals of the Durga Puja are knocking at the door.
Be it the problem of getting helping hands from the neighbouring state or the supply of raw materials, no matter what kind of odd experiences they have faced due to COVID19 pandemic, the clay artisans are the real frontliners who have kept their words for timely delivery of the Durga idols for “Durgotsav 2021”, one of the biggest celebrations of Northeast India.
(Report filed by Subhamoy Bhattacharjee)