Cuttack: The millennium city Cuttack is a melting pot of religions, faiths and culture. People from all communities tend to maintain their distinct cultural/ethnic ways of life quite comfortably without feeling the need to modify. The ‘Katakia’ way of living itself is synonymous to ‘Brotherhood’.
A testimony to this several centuries old togetherness in Cuttack is the active participation of Muslim artisans in Hindu festivals. Cuttack has global acclaim as the heart of silver filigree works. Besides, the attractive and stunning Durga Puja ‘Medhas’ of Cuttack stands unmatched.
Many among us might not be informed that a number of these artistic tableaus are designed by Muslim workers in Cuttack. While most of them are locals, others are artists from neighbouring states like West Bengal and Jharkhand. Beginning with Ganesh puja, their stay in Cuttack extends upto Kartikeswar Puja.
“There is a sense of pride and ownership in this work. We are very happy to offer our service in Hindu festivals and that our work is appreciated,” said Tanveer, a Cuttack-based artisan. He added that they make handsome fortune during the puja season which helps them through the year.
Suhail, a Buxi Bazar-based craftsman said that he is into the trade since four generations. “My great-grandfather was a master artist of the area and sought after by most of the Puja committees. This art is in our blood and it gives a good feeling to render our expertise in Hindu festivals,” he said.
Every Durga Puja, Banka Bazar sees many Muslim families working in full swing to complete the ‘zari medhas’ (tableaux). The ornamental pieces are made using golden paper, glitter, mirrors, golden wires and Indian cork, locally known as Sola. This work, popular for its artistic brilliance, is locally famous as Zari Medha.
The Muslim community in Cuttack celebrates cultural events and festivals together with other communities, an artist in Chandini Chowk area said. Several Muslims are also members of Puja committees in the city.
With exemplary goodwill amidst diversity of culture and faith, the city of Cuttack certainly sets an example of tolerance, acceptance, and peace for the entire world.