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In search of roots: Jute-made Durga idol promotes dying industry

In a bid to draw attention to the handloom sector, particularly the “dying” jute industry in Bengal, one of the oldest pandals in the city has decided to worship a Durga idol made of jute this year.

The Arambagh Puja Samiti here has designed the pandal on the the theme, ‘In Search of Roots’ using a jute idol of the Goddess, which will be preserved in a museum after the festivities.

“I think this is first of it’s kind puja where the idol has been made from jute. We are trying to create awareness about the dying jute industry,” says Abhijit Bose, Executive chairman of the Arambagh Puja Samiti. Bose says since they cannot worship jute, they have a procured a small clay idol from West Bengal.

The jute idol has been designed by Gouranga Kuila, a Bengal-based artist who received the National Award for handicrafts in 2002.

The theme, he says, is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to promote the handloom sector in the country.

The Samiti which has previously created pandals on issues like ‘World Peace’ and ‘Women Empowerment’ feels that their theme this year would encourage people to use products made of jute which in turn will help in boosting the industry’s growth.

“The condition of jute industry in India is very critical today. Over 40 lakh farmers and nearly 4 lakh mill workers depend on it for their livelihoods. Once people start using jute products, the industry will become competitive and sustainable again,” says Bose. 
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