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Updated: September 3, 2011 12:34 IST

‘In service' of Khairatabad Ganesh

M. Srinivas
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HYDERABAD, 02/09/2011:Chinnaswamy Rajendran who made the 52 feet Khairatabad Ganesh,in Hyderabad on Friday. ----PHOTO:G_Krishnaswamy
THE HINDU HYDERABAD, 02/09/2011:Chinnaswamy Rajendran who made the 52 feet Khairatabad Ganesh,in Hyderabad on Friday. ----PHOTO:G_Krishnaswamy

Over the years, Ganesh festivities in the city have come to centre around the towering idol set up at Khairatabad. A cynosure of all eyes during the 11-day long celebrations, the Khairatabad Ganesh remains a dominant idol given its sheer size, while the man behind it seldom gets noticed.

Preferring to remain in the shadows of the idol he creates every year and not seeking any attention happens to be the 54-year-old Chinna Swamy Rajendran. Right from putting up the shed, welding works, carving out the idol with Plaster-of-Paris (PoP) to painting, Rajendran leaves no stone unturned in making the city's tallest idol more attractive.

Assisted by 110 idol makers from Maharashtra and West Bengal, he takes up the work three months before the Vinayaka Chaturthi. And that too without seeking any fee in return!

Deeksha

Soon after finalising the basic theme with pandal organisers, Rajendran who hails from Perambalur in Tamil Nadu, observes ‘deeksha' and begins the task. “The Khairatabad Ganesh has become a part of my life,” he says.

Apart from making the idol, he also helps the organisers in getting PoP and other material required from donors. This is the 25{+t}{+h} time he happens to be sculptor shaping this famed idol.

Continuing the tradition, he made “Vishnu Roopa” avatar seeking universal peace and harmony this year. The idol stands on a falcon (Garuda vahanam) and is sheltered by 18 snakes with their hoods open.

Rajendran's tryst with the Khairatabad Ganesh began in 1978 when pandal organisers approached him while he was putting up a film set in Ramakrishna studio at Golconda crossroads.

The organisers requested him to make a 14-feet idol. When he expressed apprehensions as to how effective such an idol would be, they told him about backup idea to have another idol prepared from Dhoolpet.

“After I sculpted the idol, they appreciated me and my idol was put for worship along with the other from Dhoolpet,” recalls Rajendran who is also behind city's second tallest idol, at Chappal Bazar. From then on, he started making the idol there each year, except for a gap of nine years.

Forced to give up studies after 5{+t}{+h} class due to family' precarious financial condition, Rajendran had moved to Chennai and took up work at a hotel. Later, he started assisting a sculptor and picked up the threads of the craft. And it was molding work for the sets of NTR-starrer ‘Daana Veera Soora Karna' in the year 1976 that brought him to the city.

After the festival, the sculptor will commence his regular interior and exterior design works. “I am also into temple architecture and associated with Surendrapuri project near Yadagirigutta,” he adds.

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