Sculpting a God

While the pandemic may have subdued spirits, traditional Ganesh idol makers in the state have their hands occupied with orders. However, in Adpai, Ponda, Vishnu Naik has reached a dead end for want of paints that are not available in Goa


The holy month of Shravan is set to begin, and for Goan Hindus, the homecoming of Lord Ganesh is more than just a festivity. As Goa battles COVID that has spread its tentacles across the state, people have already turned to God seeking intervention, cure, and eradication of this virus – that’s hurt people on several fronts apart from health.

And now as we enter mid-July, Hindu brethren believe that even if it has to be low key, with SOPs in place, Chavath should be celebrated by families. Thus, several local idol makers are overjoyed that they can put their art to use during this time.

In Adpai Village of Ponda Taluka, Vishnu Naik, one of the traditional idol makers, hears people talking  about  the spread of coronavirus in Goa, but he prefers to filter out all that information to focus on what he does best, that too just once a year.

“Making Ganesh idols is an art and a legacy now in our Naik household,” he says. Started by the family elders when he was young, the family initially used to make about six-seven idols every year for those who requested it.

With each year, the number increased by seven to 10 idols.

But this year, his hopes were a bit dampened in April-May during the lockdown and he thought that there would be no celebration of Chavath. “But people have strong faith in Ganapati Bappa! And thus orders began coming in June. Saying no to regular patrons is what I don’t do and thus I started sculpting various forms of Lord Ganesh who is revered as the remover of obstacles, the God of

science and wisdom,” he says.

The rates in the rural area like his are much cheaper than those sold in the urban area and for the Naik family, more than the money, it’s about partaking in the festival.  He says that while the designs and colours used on the idols may vary based on preferences, each idol is made with the same love and devotion.

Vishnu’s son, Paresh joins his father in the evening to help him out with the orders. “We have over 100 idols to make and most of the work is done,” says Paresh, adding that now the major obstacle is in

procuring paints.

Every year the father-son duo travel to Banda, Maharashtra to get all the supplies. “But now with cases increasing, we are clueless about what next. We request the government, atleast through the Goa Handicrafts Rural & Small Scale Industries Development Corporation (GHRSSIDC LTD) to assist us,” he says.

While the government is yet to come out with details or SOPs regarding the festival, Paresh believes, that people should be allowed to celebrate Chavath. “There should be guidelines and it should not be a big bash like we have every year, but extremely low key. Ganapati Bappa will also appreciate a simple welcome and adieu,” he tells us.

Vishnu is a strong believer that God can work any miracles and believes that the virus will see an end soon and Lord Ganesh will bless Goans as he has kept the Naik family safe and secure.