Meet Kumartuli’s oldest idol maker: ‘Will remain an artist till my last breath’https://indianexpress.com/photos/india-news/meet-kumartulis-oldest-idol-maker-will-remain-an-artist-till-my-last-breath-5398497/

Meet Kumartuli’s oldest idol maker: ‘Will remain an artist till my last breath’

Durga Puja and Kumartuli have somehow become complementary to each other. Year after year, the artists here make the idols, with some of them having dedicated their lives to this profession. This 73-year-old man, Samir Pal, is one of them. A photo essay by Shashi Ghosh

Durga Puja 2018: Meet Kumartuli's oldest idol maker

Durga Puja and Kumartuli have somehow become complementary to each other. Year after year, the artists here make the idols, with some of them having dedicated their lives to this profession. This 73-year-old man, Samir Pal, is one of them. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Durga Puja 2018: Meet Kumartuli's oldest idol maker

He has spent 55 years in this profession of making idols. After the demise of his parents at the tender age of 12, he was brought up by his maternal uncle, Ramen Pal, who was also a renowned idolmaker. Its under his tutelage that Samir got into the profession of idol making. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Durga Puja 2018: Meet Kumartuli's oldest idol maker

His job made him travel across India, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. This is how he learnt to distinguish between various types of clay. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Durga Puja 2018: Meet Kumartuli's oldest idol maker

Barring a very few artists, most of the old artists of Kumartuli are dead now. Samir Pal is one of those few alive and that too in good health, carrying on with his job with a smile. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Durga Puja 2018: Meet Kumartuli's oldest idol maker

According to Pal, the tastes of people have changed largely giving the artists a plethora of opportunities to do better and experimental works. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Durga Puja 2018: Meet Kumartuli's oldest idol maker

Such opportunities were not there when he had started out. With his earnings from nearly 55 years of work, he has also built two studios in Kumartuli. Although his son helps him in his work, he doesn’t seem to be inclined towards the art, Samir says.(Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Durga Puja 2018: Meet Kumartuli's oldest idol maker

The shepherd’s statue along Bardhaman-Arambagh bridge and the dinosaur at the Science City are also made by Samir. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Durga Puja 2018: Meet Kumartuli's oldest idol maker

With his photos circulating on social media sites, the 73-year-old is quite a known face in the city now, who always responds to every question with a smiling face. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Durga Puja 2018: Meet Kumartuli's oldest idol maker

Idols made by Samir Pal have gone to Canada twice. The thought that his idols were worshipped abroad still makes Pal ecstatic. He wishes to whole-heartedly be in the profession till death. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)