TAMIL NADU

No takers for Vinayagar idols

Raring to go:Finishing touches being given to Vinayagar idols at Palayamkottai.A.SHAIKMOHIDEEN

Raring to go:Finishing touches being given to Vinayagar idols at Palayamkottai.A.SHAIKMOHIDEEN  

Idol makers from Rajasthan, who would usually sell 1,500 Vinayaka idols during Vinayaka Chathurthi every year, are struggling to find customers for selling even 350 idols which they have made and stocked in the makeshift godowns.

For the three families from Rajasthan, who are living in roadside tents in Palayamkottai, Vinayagar is everything as He feeds these families that sell His idols for Vinayaga Chathurthi celebrations. The sculptors, who used to start making the idols after Deepavali every year, would make a minimum of 1,500 idols in various heights ranging from 1 feet to 10 feet with chalk powder. These strikingly beautiful idols would be sold anywhere between Rs. 200 and Rs. 8,000.

Mottaram, 48, and his friends, on returning from their native place in Rajasthan after celebrating Deepavali, started making idols for ‘Vinayaka Chathurthi 2020.’ However, COVID-19 outbreak crippled their work in March last. Even as successive lockdowns casting shadow over their business, the sculptors made 350 idols in the size ranging from 1 feet to 5 feet.

“Our idols, known for its beauty and innovation, would sell like hotcakes every year. With a lot of expectations, we started the season’s work after last Deepavali celebrations. However, the pandemic, after seriously affecting our production, is forcing us to wait indefinitely for our customers from five southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala,” says Mr. Mottaram.

With the pandemic threat looming large, the sculptors stopped their production at just 350 instead of going in for the usual number of 1,500. Without any business queries and sale, Mr. Mottaram, who has taken loan from moneylenders here, is paying Rs. 18,000 a month as rent for the godown where he has kept the 350 idols.

He expects that the buyers would start coming to his roadside shop from this week onwards as the festival falls on August 22. “After selling the idols here, we’d go back to our native place and return here only after Deepavali to start making idols for the next season. If we cannot sell the idols this year, we may not go to Rajasthan for Deepavali as we would not have money for the travel and celebrations there. With the ration rice we can buy here with the help of a few locals, we’re making gruel to feed our children now. We pin our hope on the God and wait with smaller number of idols for buyers,” says Mr. Mottaram.

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