Subrata Das Ranak from Sirajdikhan
The artisan families of Sirajdikhan upazila under Munshiganj district are passing hard days. They lament that they basically remain jobless throughout the year. Many idol-makers of Sirajdikhan, Rosunia, Shekharnogor, Chirtrawcourt, Abirpara, Taltala, Ichapura and Bhabanipur are contemplating giving up their ancestral profession.
The discouraging factors are high prices of raw materials, intervention by the greedy middle man and absence of work for over eight months a year. They earn only during the time of Kalipuja each year. Setting aside their woes and troubles, they get busy in moulding idols of the goddess, this is the source of their income. “We never receive fair price of our labour, said a artisan from Abirpara village in Sirajdikhan upazila under Munshigonj district. According sources, they roughly earn taka 20,000 to 30,000 a year but not enough to maintain livelihood.
A disgruntled Batul Paul from Sirajdikhan upazila was moulding the goddess fingers with clay. He said, “Good days are past. Nowadays, we barely make any money. The only reason of doing it is that we have no other skill. Straw, bamboo, wood, rope, nails and all that we need to make goddess have become expensive. So, the days of earning good profit are times of yore.”
Babul Paul added that he was making idols for the last three years. He estimated that he would earn around taka, 40,000, but 30 percents of his earning were used as labour cost.
Besides, an idol-maker’s profession is a seasonal one from September to January. There is no income during the other time of the Year. Most of the idol-makers who live in the rural areas are illiterate, and have taken up pottery to supplement their income.