Durga Puja at the city of brotherhood – Cuttack Durga Puja . Odia Film Cuttack the Silver City describes the millennium City as – “Cuttack The city of brotherhood which divides a river into two – Mahanadi & Kathajori. It was the old capital of Utkal. A city where Juman Mia makes idols of Goddess Durga, Hadi Bandhu decorates the Silver works for EID, Peter dancees in Durga Puja immersion procession and Teji Singh stitches suits for Peter marriage ”
Cuttack is known as the city of brotherhood which can clearly be witnessed during the great Cuttack Durga Puja. Thirty-year-old Zaheer Khan of Banka Bazar, Cuttack is one of the best artist for the Zari medha works which are used to decorate the idols of Goddess Durga in different puja mandaps.
Zaheer Khan is in a rush to finish the zari work as the Durga Puja draws closer. He is part of the many Muslim families who have been designing the tableaux in Durga Puja Pandal for generations now.”My grandfather, father, everyone has been involved in this business. I picked this up from my father ten years ago,” says Mr Khan.
No doubt this is a unique example of communal harmony, the Durga Puja festivity in Cuttack is incomplete without the Muslims.Undeterred by any religious intolerance, the Muslim artisans of the city have been designing the backdrop of the Durga Puja Pandal every year.
According to says Shamim Khan, another artisan involved this business- “We all live together. There is nothing like Hindu and Muslims. We go and work in their Pandal and they give us a lot of respect. There are no differences between Hindus and Muslims.”
They are known for their artistic brilliance and each family designs at least six to seven tableaux for Durga Puja every year. The price could range from anything between Rs. 30, 000 to Rs. 1 lakh.Not only the tableaux, the artisans also design headgear and jewellery for Goddess Durga and other deities.The tableaux or Medha, as it is called locally is not an artistic creation but also a symbol of communal harmony.
However, the recent shift from zari to using silver tableaux is threatening their art form.
Not only this , the Muslim community also greets every Puja committee during the immersion procession . Almost every Katki gifts sweet to their Muslim & Christian friends and they also celebrate the festival together.
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