“The times have changed. Earlier, not every one could make a murti with their hands. Now one can make a murti using a mould. It’s become so easy,” states Chintamand Jawari, a sculptor, who has been making Ganesh idols since he was a seven-year-old. He credits all his skills to his mentor, Ramprasad Kaushal, who also made a huge Ganesh statue for the song ‘Are Ja Re Hat Natkhat’ in V Shantaram’s film Navrang in 1959. Jawari worked on designing the statue.
Now, he works with his family through the year to make Ganesh idols of various sizes and designs. Jawari is fondly known by everyone in the locality of Narayan Peth as ‘Jawari Kaka’. He sits for hours in his workshop, dressed in a simple shirt and pyjama, that is coloured with stains of paint, with his trademark Nehru cap. Jawari’s idols are known for being made only from shadu or fire clay and are painted using water colours. “Making a statue out of shadu is very difficult. Making one from plaster of Paris (PoP) is much easier but it doesn’t dissolve in water. A shadu idol dissolves very easily into water,” says Ganesh, Jawari’s son. He also mentions that they do not use a mould while sculpting the idols and rely on their memory instead. “We generally start making the idol from the base, then the seat and later the body. Everyone’s style is different. Some people look at a picture and then design different parts of the idol accordingly while others rely on a mould. Not all the murtis we make have a mould, they can only be made from hand. The idols that look similar are all made using a mould,” he explains.
Along with Jawari’s son Ganesh, his daughters, Rekha Dhanve and Gauri Ghanekar, are also actively involved in the family business. “We make sure that everyone from the family works for this. We rarely ever get outsiders to help out,” says Ghanekar.
Jawari used to work under his mentor who was employed with the Prabhat Film Company. The 80-year-old recalls working during those days and narrates how times have changed, “We used to get such less money for our work compared to what we get now. I just used to get around 10 to 15 anna for the work we did. Those times have gone and things have really changed. There are very few people like me left who have the skills required to sculpt an intricate idol.” He continues to passionately sculpt idols that can be found in Narayan Peth all year long.
Starting tomorrow, our Ganapati countdown will appear daily – Monday through Saturday
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