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Idol maker says it with petals

- Goddess of learning gets unique look & social theme, thanks to ECL official

The goddess of learning is literally blooming with beauty and social consciousness.

Abhijeet Chatterjee, a finance officer with Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), has been burning midnight oil for months to make an idol of Saraswati with artificial petals at his Dhanbad home.

Chatterjee has also chosen the welfare activities undertaken by Nari Shakti Samiti — an wing of BCCL officers wives’ association — as his theme.

“The four-feet-high idol will be housed inside a miniature model village. Various structures like a betel shop, tea stall, hospital, school, adult education centre, places of worship like temple, mosque, gurdwara and church, all made of thermocol, will bear slogans highlighting the social work of the samiti,” Chatterjee, who worked for BCCL for 22 years, before being transferred to ECL in 2012, said.

The finance executive has been making Saraswati idols for the last 35 years.

Asked about the innovation this time, he said he had tried to combine an unusual raw material for the idol with a unique theme for the puja.

On the slogans, Chatterjee said the one at the betel shop would read nasha naash hai, nari shakti ko ehsaas hai (Women know addiction is the root of all evils).

Similarly, the one on the model adult education centre will read shiksha nahi hai bhiksha, sabka hai adhikar, praudh ho ya bachche, sabko mile yeh hathiyar (Education is no charity, it’s the right of all — be they adults or children).

The idol will be put on display at Black Diamond Club in Koylanagar, Dhanbad, on Saraswati Puja, which falls on Tuesday.

Nari Shakti Samiti organises the puja on the club premises every year. Chatterjee has been attached with them for the last six years.

Chatterjee started work on the idol in November last year. “I find it difficult to get spare time as I commute between my home in Dhanbad and my workplace at Mugma for four hours daily,” said Chatterjee.

Even after returning home exhausted in the evening, he worked on the idol at night.

For the last 10 days, he has been working as late as 4am.

“My family members — wife Saswati, mother Manju and father Kalyan — have helped me with pasting thermocol,” said Chatterjee.

He added that he composed the slogans as well.

Chatterjee also did not take any money. “I have not yet calculated the total expense, but the sum should be around Rs 40,000. I spent the entire sum from my salary and didn’t take help of anyone,” he said.

Idol making has been Chatterjee’s passion since childhood. “I have been making Saraswati idols since the time I was 10,” he added.

Chatterjee has made idols of wood shavings (2007), pearls (2008), jute (2009), soap (2010) and even coal (2011). In 2012, his raw material was the gamcha, while last year it was straw.