Pradeep Pattanayak

At a time when Ganesh Puja is just two days to go, a row over artisans making distorted idols has erupted in Cuttack. While artisans have been admonished by the police, the matter has reached the court. 

Artisans are busy giving final touches to the idols and puja committee members at preparations. But some artisans and puja committees have meanwhile courted controversy for giving a whimsical shape to the idols. At a pandal in Cuttack, the lord looks like his father with the water of the Ganga coming out from the matted locks and a snake around the neck. At another, he sits on a lion, instead of a rat. 

On the allegation of distorting the lord’s idol, the police on Sunday reprimanded some idol makers of Kumbhar Sahi area in the Millennium city. They have been asked to destroy the distorted idols. 

Taking exception to the police’s move, an artisan has filed a petition in the High Court. 

“I have prayed before the court that I will be allowed to sale my idols,” said petitioner Narayan Muduli.

“We are making the idols as per the demands of puja committees. Everywhere including Mumbai, such idols are being made and worshipped. Why there are restrictions for us,” said artisan Debendra Muduli. 

In this regard, Cuttack DCP Pinak Mishra said, “The artisans have been asked to keep in mind that their idols shouldn’t hurt the religious sentiment of others and create a law and order situation.”

Expressing his concern an advocate, Bijay Dash said, “Criminal cases can be registered against those who are involved in such acts. So they should refrain from what will have a negative impact on the society.”

Culture researcher Bhagirathi Mahasuar said, “I would say, at such pandals puja is not offered to the lord rather they are making mockery of their own religion.”

The distorted idols of Lord Ganesh are being made not only in Cuttack but also in different places of the state.