Toton Malik, an idol maker from Chandralok, Delhi, Anand Foundation

Toton Malik, an Idol Maker from Chandralok, Delhi

My next stop was at Chandralok Cinema hall, located in Chittaranjan Park only. I knew it was DDA Park behind G block of C.R. Park. But when I went out looking for it, I could not find it. So I asked some local men, if the idol makers have stopped coming here. He said no, and showed me the gate, inside of which the idol makers were making the idols. I entered the ground, which I expected to be empty, but was filled with raw materials required to build the idols. Walking further I found the tent, inside of which there were hundreds of straw idols placed in four rows. As the rows of incomplete idols ended, I discovered the idol makers sitting in a circle working with straw. I told them about my intention of interviewing them, they seemed pretty comfortable, and gave me a humble nod to go forth with it.

In conversation with Toton Malik, an Idol Maker from Chandralok, Delhi

A nice and soft spoken person was very glad to speak to me. He seemed quite comfortable in speaking about his craft. Without hesitation he answered all of my queries.

“So, you are from same place as Bhajan Ghosh?”.
“Yes, I am from Krishna Nagar district as well.”

“So what are you preparing right now?”
“I am preparing Ganesha’s hand now. After this it will be attached to the idol and clay will be put on it.”

“Oh! So for how long you stay here for?”
“I am here as long as it takes to make the idols i.e. four to six months”

“What do you rest of the year? You make idols rest of the year as well?”
“No, in fact I am a weaver as well. I weave Taant sarees back in home. My family has a legacy of the saree. We produce and sell them.”

“How many people are there in your family?”
“Ten, we all are weavers. I come here for extra money.”

“Oh! You come here always to make the idols?”
“Yes. Since I started making idols, I have been coming here.”

“So you stay here only? During the whole time you are here in Delhi?”
“Yes. We live under this tent for the four month. During the stay this tent becomes our home. All our basic necessities are fulfilled by our boss only.”

“So you are satisfied with the income?”
“Yes, it’s enough for my livelihood.”