H.K. Vishwanath continues to make earthen Ganesha idols despite working as a technician in an engineering college, for the sake of keeping his family tradition alive and also passes it to his next generation
H.K. Viswanath, who works as a technician in the civil engineering department in Malnad Engineering College here, has another occupation. He, along with his wife, Sashikala, who works as a librarian in Sriranga ITI here, and children Manu and Vinay, continue the family tradition of making earthen Ganesh idols.
Mr. Viswanath says that his grandfather used to make Ganesh idols and his father continued the tradition. When he was six years old, he too started making Ganesh idols and has been doing so for 40 years. Preparations for making the idols get under way six months before Ganesh Chaturthi. Earlier, there were many tanks in Hassan, and getting clay was not a problem. Now they have to go to nearby villages to get clay. Mr. Viswanath says that they bring truckloads of clay to their house.
He says that they make idols ranging in size from 3 inches to five and a half feet. This year they have made 25,000 Ganesh idols. Besides the family members, they also engage about 10 to 15 workers to make the idols.
Mr. Viswanath says they need advance notice to make a Ganesh idol more than 2 ft in height. Only after receiving an order do they make idols of the required size. They are concerned about the environment and so do not use toxic paints on the idols. Ms. Sashikala says that since it is a family tradition, she too learnt to make Ganesha idols after she got married and also taught her children. Since last month, the entire family has been working on the idols in their spare time. The price of the Ganesh idols starts at Rs. 10 and goes up to Rs. 5,000.