Why Can’t Women Sculpt Idols In Kumartuli?

We worship the goddess, who is a woman, and yet a woman cannot sculpt the idol of the goddess in Kumartuli!

We worship the goddess, who is a woman, and yet a woman cannot sculpt the woman goddess!

Bengalis worship Ma Durga and Ma Kali on a large scale with a huge amount of devotion. The women spend hours arranging everything for the puja. Ma Durga and Ma Kali are two of the strongest goddesses who symbolize protection, strength, motherhood, destruction, and wars. They rose up bravely to fight against injustice.

Kali is the Hindu goddess of death and rebirth. She expresses the dual nature of the destruction that must come before new beginnings and the strength of female power, which can sometimes do what man cannot.

The Goddess Durga is seen as a sign of power and protection, which is why she has garnered so many followers through the years. She was originally incarnated to fight a demon that only a woman could defeat. Now, she is seen as a fierce warrior goddess.

Why do women have no role in Kumartuli?

Let us look at who spends hours creating these idols. These idols are made with a lot of precision and are created by the menfolk. Women are considered taboo and forbidden to create these idols. Some daughters of these idol makers have fought for years in vain.

The belief is that women cannot and will not be able to sculpt these idols.

Why is a woman considered incompetent to create a goddess idol? Her male colleagues continue to doubt her abilities. They feel she cannot handle big orders for pujo as she is a woman.

We worship the woman Goddess for her strength and power, yet we consider human women powerless and useless mortals on the face of the Earth. Why does our society follow this injustice? Why do we hesitate to give the same power and freedom to our women? They also need to be worshipped and allowed to shine with their creative powers.

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Why does our society follow these double standards?

What are we teaching our women?

They, too, need to feel powerful and ready to face the adversities of life. I am shocked to read, that The Telegraph’s inquiry for directions to her studio was met by the following remark by some male artisans of another workshop: “Oh oi urinal er pasher artist ke khnujchhen?”; Oh, you are looking for the artist who works next to the urinal?

Mala Pal is carving her path in a man’s world

Mala Pal is the only woman who, after her father’s death, decided to sculpt the Ma Durga idols at Kumartuli. She had always wanted to sculpt, but her father forbade her from entering the workshop.

Today she has fought back and shown that she is a superior sculptor and can carve the idols with the same mastery and precision as the male sculptors. Mala has even gone further by teaching kids and women to sculpt. It is a battle, but she too is fighting like the women goddesses.

Worship the Goddess, but also herald and respect the women in our lives. Let us get rid of these double standards that the men of the society have formed for no justifiable reasons. The movement Kumartuli Rising is now helping women like Mala sculpt these idols.

“Women clad in sarees and perched on ladders to mould goddesses has a novelty factor… but each of us has gone through a lot before we made it to the features pages of newspapers and magazines…”

Today, these women sculpt the idols, but they cannot charge the same amount as the men.

Today, I ask my women readers to encourage and support these women. When you go to buy the idols, buy from these women. Let us make the women powerful. Our women’s hands are not soft and are extremely capable of handling clay, bamboo, and wood.

Let us stop the men from mocking the women and allow them to work and sculpt. Let us make the women like Ma Durga and Ma Kali. We worship these women goddesses and should respect the women on Earth even more.


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Image source: CanvaPro

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About the Author

Anindita Nag

I love to write on women's issues. I strongly believe that every woman is capable of being more than just a homemaker. They are the leaders of our world. They can multi-task more read more...

50 Posts | 126,195 Views

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