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Rashmi Rekha Das

Cuttack district witnesses the participation of people from both Hindu and Muslim communities in the Dussehra celebrations every year. There is much bonhomie between the two communities on those days. The Muslim community gets indulged in different activities to make Durga Puja a grand one. Ahead of Durga Puja, OTV came across a Muslim family that has been into making jari medhas for more than nine decades.

Banka Bazar-based Aslam Ali’s family has been making jari medha for Durga Puja for generations with same vigour and devotion. 

Other than the tableaux of Goddess Durga,  Aslam’s family for years has been making gears for the goddess like head gear and earrings made of golden threads called jari.

In Cuttack, more than 150 Muslim families engage themselves in the service of decorating Durga idols by making jari medhas for many years. They are keeping their forefathers’ legacy alive by providing this service. 

Aslam Ali said, “My grandfather used to do jari medha and had carved a niche for his craftsmanship. He had been felicitated by the British government for the same. Following the demise of my grandfather, my father later got into it. Now, I am into it.”

Sayeeda Bibi said, “When I was a kid, I had seen my uncle making jari medha. So, I learnt the art of making jari medha from my uncle. Not just we do it for the sake of keeping our old traditions of our forefathers alive but we literally enjoyed it.”

The Muslim artisans also make other clothes meant for different god and goddesses throughout the seasons apart from making jari medhas during Durga puja.

Muslim and Hindu women of Nischintakoili block also get into the making of jari medha. 

It may be mentioned that these artisans incurred huge losses for the last two years in a row as they did not get many orders for decorative ‘jari’ works due to the covid restriction imposed by the Odisha Government on gathering at Durga Puja pandals and cap on the height of idols.

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