The hike in cost of living, has adversely affected the livelihood of Kumbargeri artisans who are indulged in creating eco-friendly idols of Gowri and Ganesha out of clay.
To combat with the present scenario, several artisans have opted for various jobs. Inspite of several odds, one month before Ganesha festival the artisans take leave and work in night to cater the demands from their countable number of customers, including NRI's.
“Though we are affected severely and facing lot of hardship, we do want to give up the traditional art work. After coming from work, I help my father in creating the idols till 3 pm,” said Subramanya who is working for an private company for 12,000 salary.
Artist Shyam Sundar said: “We are unable to coop up with hike in prices of essential commodities. It has become difficult for us to lead life depending only on selling idols. Thus, two years ago I joined for a company and meantime not to discontinue the legacy, I take leave during the festival seasons and help family in creating Idols.”
“Only countable number of them prefer handmade clay idols. To attract people towards clay idols, we are creating new design as per the orders by the customer,” said 70-year-old fourth generation artist B Srinivas, who exports few of his hand made clay idols for NRIs.
He further said that he is ensuring to provide good education for his grand children, as he has no hope in the creating hand made idols. B Srinivas family members are indulged in work from the time of Wodeyars' ruled Mysore.
Hardly 20 families continue the bequest
Once upon a time Kumbargeri was famous for selling of traditional Mysore Style hand made clay Ganesh and Gowri idols. But, with the rapid urbanisation the area is loosing its charm. From 170 families only 20 families in the area are indulged in the traditional practice.
Earlier, the entire family members used to indulge in creating clay idols and had the handful of orders. But with the urbanisation and surface of glittering Plaster of Paris idols to market from other states the demand for traditional Ganesha has drastically come down.
The families which were selling more than 2000 to 3000 idols in the festival season, are now selling below 250, which makes them difficult to sustain. Artisans say the ready idols brought from other state has severely affected their business.