From miniatures to life-sized idols, govt employee carves Ganesha statues 365 days a year
What began as a hobby to address an existential crisis in 2005 has now matured as an artistic skill for 61-year-old Shivendra Singh Parihar. Dedicating almost three hours daily to carving statues of Lord Ganesha has not only made Parihar famous in Madhya Pradesh's Satna but also enabled him to find his life's purpose.
Sachin Tulsa tripathi 6 Sep 2022 12:24 PM GMT
Satna (Madhya Pradesh)
The year 2005 was a turning point in Shivendra Singh Parihar's life. A feeling of purposelessness had set in and the existential questions about how to spend the rest of his life were troubling him. It was on one such lazy afternoon that year when he came across a sticker of Lord Ganesha which stirred his thoughts about taking up idol-making as a hobby.
"I immediately got up to try my hand at carving a piece of wood. It took some hours and what came out was not really impressive but it made me realise that if I can dedicate this much time in carving wood without getting bored, it certainly can help me spend my time creatively," Parihar, a 61-year-old resident of Madhya Pradesh's Satna told Gaon Connection.
"I wake up early in the morning and by 6 am I start working on the idols. I get up from my hobby at around 9 am and I have never taken a day off from pursuing my hobby," Parihar, who is an employee of the Madhya Pradesh Transport Department, told Gaon Connection.
In the last 17 years, Parihar has carved more than 60 wooden idols, some as small as miniatures best suited for using a pendant while some are more than seven-feet tall and weigh almost 175 kilogammes. What is special about Parihar's idols is that they are carved out of a single log of wood without using any cut out pieces from other wooden pieces.
"The selection of wood is of prime importance in this art. The wood type has to be based on the size of the idol to be made. The eight-feet idol that I made was carved out of mango wood while small idols are made out of tender varieties of wood," he said.
The pendant-sized idol made by Parihar is proudly worn by his mother in a necklace.
"His handwriting is not good at all but he has really mastered the craft of idol-making. I don't know how and why he started making these idols but it feels really good to see my son carve out such huge idols of Lord Ganesha," Shyamwati, an octogenarian told Gaon Connection.
Missed Limca Book of Records by a couple of inches
Parihar told Gaon Connection that his biggest idol ever built -- the one weighing 175 kilogrammes -- missed the Limca Book of Records by two inches.
"I had applied for the record after some of my friends advised me to do so. But I received a letter from the Limca Book of Records which mentioned that another such idol carved out of a single log of wood is registered with them and is two inches taller than mine," he stated.
Initially, Parihar employed simple tools like scalpel, hammer and pliers but gradually as he began commanding idol-making, advanced tools were brought in to make sophisticated idols.
"Some of my friends began giving me a set of tools and now I have started ordering advanced tools from abroad in order to pursue my hobby," Parihar said.
The 61-year-old finds it difficult to sell off his creations. Instead, he gifts these idols to people dear to him.
"I am not doing this to earn money. Also, I am deeply attached to these idols to allow them to be sold. There are no plans to capitalise on my hobby as such.