From where it originates
We speak to various sculptors about how various forms of Ganesha inspire them
In two days’ time, Lord Ganesha will be arriving and spreading happiness everywhere. The forms of Ganesha are diverse, each inspiring people. Here, a few sculptors reveal how the lord inspires them...
Present in every form
Anil Dingankar, an alumnus of JJ School of Arts, Mumbai, recently conducted a 15-day eco-friendly Ganapati idol-making workshop at Kharghar. He thinks Ganesha, as we commonly see, is the form from where sculpting begins. “No matter what form you give him, he continues to look beautiful. Even if you see him in the abstract form, he still looks divine. No one has seen god, however mythology and creativity give us the scope to look at Ganapati in any form we like. Every individual thinks differently, hence there are lakhs of forms. During the workshop, I asked people to make Ganapati in the form they associate him with — a photographer created one where Ganapati is sitting on a camera, someone who loves Shiva made Ganapati in the form of Shiva and so on. Personally, I like a simple Ganapati who is in a pose of giving blessings. I love this gesture and the expression on his face,” says Dingankar who feels that you do not need to worship humongous idols which can damage the environment but can connect with god with a small idol too.
The human-like elephant
City-based idol-maker Chandekar Avinash who co-owns Tribhakti Kala in Hadapsar, says while business doesn’t allow idol-makers to experiment much with the form of Ganapati as they have to keep in mind customer demand and preferences, he is deeply inspired by the Gajraj form of the deity. “The perfect blend of elephant and human is enchanting. A god who has the head of an elephant and the body of a human always fascinates me and many other artists like me. To create the right balance of both is challenging yet it’s the best part of making a Ganesha idol. His eyes are so mesmerising and that is my most favourite part — they have to be like humans and full of love, kindness and mysticism,” says Chandekar who has been making idols for 25 years.
Changing with time
Although Kumortuli, in northern Kolkata is known for idols of Maa Durga, Lord Ganesha too remains one of the famous gods here. Says Sriram Sen, “Ganesha gives you the opportunity to see and perceive him in any form you like. Unlike most other gods and goddesses, what I enjoy the most about making Ganesha idols is the flexibility of showing him through my eyes. Every year, during Ganesh Utsav and Durga Puja, god inspires me to make him look as human as possible and yet give him the divinity of a deity.”
Sen feels that every time he sits to carve a Ganapati sculpture, he looks at it in a new way. “While making the idol for Durga Puja, I do have certain restrictions as Ganesha is a part of the entire ensemble of gods and goddesses and hence has to look like them. However, when you make him individually, you can show him like a baby or a modern office-goer, a warrior or even as a politician. A couple of years ago, I had made an idol with a Harry Potter theme which was a hit. Ganesha’s ability to be moulded with the contemporary world is what makes him so appealing and timeless and that’s where I seek inspiration from,” he adds.