October , 2010 (CalcuttaTube): Proceed along the lane and face the lion at the crossing! Then all three eyes scan you. Now enter to find the six-pack-boxer-alike. You are not in a zoo. But nay! You need not fear. You may not be any hero. Equally courageous are the others who flash and click to snap the scenario.
This is Kumortuli, the birth place of our Gods and Goddesses. Both Lord Shiva and Devi Durga along with their number of kids defying birth control policy are born here to take possession of puja pandals in no time. The entire family is born at a time in multiple numbers (clones?). They are processed here prior to the Puja. Kumortuli, the originating place of the divine on the earth is emptied in bulk as the idols go to ‘puja mandaps’ – a kind of ‘bisarjan’ prior to the puja, without beating of drums before actual ‘Bisarjan’ on ‘Dashami’.
It was 1757; the War of Palashi established the dominance of the English as a colonial power. John Zephaniah Holwell (1711 – 1798), a temporary Governor of Bengal (1760) separated workers’ quarters in different parts of Kolkata. This move gave birth to ‘Coomartolly’, or the potters’ quarters that by much Indianization became Kumortuli. The ‘kumor’ meaning a potter and the word ‘tuli’ originated from ‘tola’ (like Ahiritola), which means ‘para’ or ‘colony.’ So, it is very much clear that it is a colony of potters. Kumortui is the nerve centre of clay idols.
Ace Bengali poet Sankha Ghosh observes that Kolkata has a lot of Kolkata unfolded; Kolkata has a different Kolkata inside. Kumortuli is one such identity. The structure of idols in Kumartuli greatly differs with others’. Gods and Goddesses have features ingrained in the popular imagination through myth, legend and literature. Thus they are made in two distinct styles, either in the Bangla or in the Do-bhashi mould.
Kumortuli – where man creates God! Kumortuli – where the power relation between and God and Man changes! It is the artistians’ paradise in Kolkata where man just not assemble but also creates every part of God everytime, gives birth to their idols, makes them ready for belief, purity and devotion.
Featured Video: Chokkhu Daan to Godess Durga on the auspicious day of Mahalaya dated 18th September 2009.Durga Idols are created in Kumartuli,kolkata(WB)
Calcuttatube captures some moments of their attested creations!
Photos: Sambit Basu