Muslim artisans prepare effigies for Dussehra festival
Jammu, Sep 25: Setting a perfect example of communal harmony and brotherhood, Muslim artisans from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh are busy these days in giving finishing touches to effigies of Ravana (demon king), Kumbhakaran (Ravana’s brother) and Meghnath (Ravana’s son) for Hindu festival Dussehra.
For decades together, it is these Muslim artisans who make the journey from their hometown Menaputhi in tehsil Sardhana of Meerut to the winter capital of the state and prepare the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath. It is also their main source of livelihood.
Interestingly, generation-gap has failed to break the tradition as the first and the third generations of Ravana effigy-makers perform their task unitedly.
The new generation is also learning the art alongside their studies. Each artist has the proficiency of doing specialized task. For instance, if one artist is preparing the heads of Ravana’s effigies, other has the expertise of making hands and legs.
“We are preparing effigies for almost all districts of the state. For the first time, we are preparing effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath for Leh district,” Muhammad Rehman, 54, a Muslim artisan, who heads 35-member team, told Greater Kashmir.
Rehman said, “We could not prepare the effigies for Srinagar last year due to summer unrest. This year we have prepared big effigies for Srinagar which are being given final touch. It takes days together to prepare effigies but we feel happy while witnessing these effigies reducing into ashes. I have been in this profession for the past 26 years and all artists feel happy to prepare these effigies for their Hindu brethren.”
The artisan said the largest effigies (75 feet tall) are being prepared for Parade Ground Jammu where thousands of people are expected to take part. For other districts, effigies are being prepared as per the demand as the cost of effigies varies with size.
Dussehra marks the triumph of good over evil. It is celebrated to mark the defeat of Ravan by warrior king Lord Ram. The Ramlila—enactment of the life of Lord Rama--is held during the nine days (Navratra festival) preceding Dussehra during which ballets from Hindu epic Ramayana are enacted. This year, Dussehra is being celebrated on October 6.
“Hume Badi Khushi Hoti Hai (We feel happy),” was the straight-forward reply of Chandu (58) who has been making the effigies for the last 30-odd years.
“As the festival marks the victory of good over evil, everybody should have the feeling of brotherhood and communal harmony to preserve the secular fabric of this country. For ages, Muslim artisans have lent their expertise in making idols for Dussehra and other Hindu festivals. There should not be any debate on who is doing for whom,” he said.
Gayas-ud-Din, (36), Chandu’s son-in-law remarked: “We come here every year one month before Dussehra. Some members are Hindus. We complete the month-long task with unity. This year, we are preparing around 50 effigies each of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath for the entire state”.
The artists said the cost of effigies had shot up drastically. “Cost of effigies, to be erected in Parade Ground Jammu, will be around Rs 3 lakh to 3.5 lakh,” they said.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 26 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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