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Durga Puja 2022

Tala Prattoy to honour those behind Durga Puja pandal

North Kolkata puja lines walls with pictures of 215 artisans who toiled daily from mid-June

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 28.09.22, 06:11 AM
Artisans who made the Tala Prattoy puja pandal in front of their photographs on Tuesday.

Artisans who made the Tala Prattoy puja pandal in front of their photographs on Tuesday.

Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Kartik Jana from Tamluk in Purba Medinipur would climb 62ft every day to fix the crown of a pandal.

Sarifuddin Mondal from Gocharan in Baruipur, South 24-Parganas, tied the ropes on the bamboo poles so the massive structure held firm.


Rabi Maity of Nandigram in Purba Medinipur cut triangular sheets of iron one after another for hours.

As Kolkata slips into celebration mode, Jana, Mondal and Maity would leave the city for home. Their work will remain for millions to see.

Tala Prattoy in north Kolkata has decided to honour each of the 215 artisans, including the three men,  who have made their puja possible.

For artisans like Jana, Mondal and Maity, working on a puja pandal day and night is not new, but what is new and “unexpected” is having their photographs adorn the pandal’s walls.

The walls lined with pictures of people at work when the pandal was being built give visitors a glimpse of the faces behind the creation. 

“When people come to a puja pandal, they see the end product, but there are people who have toiled through sleepless nights to produce what they see. The puja here celebrates that human participation,” said artist Susanta Paul, who has been working with his team since mid-June at the puja, near the iconic water reservoir in Tallah.

“We have given the artisans the respect that is their due. The theme allowed me to do that,” said Paul.

In the 31,000sqft space that Paul had, he worked with iron fabrication to depict the role of human hands and creativity in moulding something apparently lifeless.

Many of the artisans who worked here are engaged in jobs such as bending beams and welding for the rest of the year.

All of them look forward to Durga Puja in Kolkata because they earn more in these few months than they do through the year.

“And this work is different. It feels good,” said Jana from Tamluk.

“We wait for this period because we earn some more money. We work day and night but get double the amount that we earn at other times of the year,” he said.

The past two years were exceptionally bad because of Covid as their income had hit rock bottom, the three men said. 

“There was not enough food at home for my family and my children, especially in the first year of the pandemic. Life was tough,” Mondal recounted.

“We are thankful that this time Durga Puja is being celebrated on a bigger scale,” Jana said.

Mondal, now in his 40s, said he had been working since the age of 12 and “it is for the first time that I see my photograph like this”. 

Mrittunjoy Biswas, the assistant secretary of Tala Prattoy, said they were happy they had been able to provide work and a source of income to so many artisans after two long years.

“We wanted the photographs to be candid shots,” said Souvik Kali, an artist who assisted Paul.

Kali said he spotted a group of artisans from Purba Medinipur making a video of their photographs and sending it home.

“The artisans are never in the forefront once the pandal is ready. We feel good that we have been able to give them that position this year,” said Santanu Ghosh, secretary of the club.

So while Jana, Mondal, Maity and their friends are packing their bags to go back home, one cannot help but ask: “Would you not bring your family to see the work of art you have produced?”

“No. If they find out I climbed 62ft, they would only get more worried. Our work is for the rest of Bengal to see,” smiled Jana.


Last updated on 28.09.22, 06:22 AM

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