Migrants : Doll makers in Chennai

Travelling to a new place to do business and earn money is been a part of history for a long time. Some have become great men, some have become hero to their families and some have gone unnoticed. This is not the story of one man. It is the story of many families who earn their living in Chennai by making idols made of plaster of Paris. They travel as groups from Rajasthan, Gujarat and other parts of north India. They come here to clear their personal debts and earn money for their future.

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Every day they work hard to make idols like Ganesh, muruga and saibaba by pouring plaster of Paris into their respective molds. They allow it to get solidified and then remove the mold after a day or two. After the idols were ready the women in the family will use different colors to paint the idols and make them ready for sale.

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The dolls which are ready for sale are taken in tricycles to different wholesale purchasers. Sometimes they even take the idols to residential areas and sell them in retail instead of giving them to wholesalers. The peak time for their business is during Ganesh chathurthi during which they get bulk order to make large sized Ganesh idols.

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Their hard work made them outsource manufacture of all Ganesh idols for Ganesh chathurthi which was made in a place called kosapet a decade back. The replacement of clay with plaster of Paris brought this change.

Their entire season is from 3-6 months within which they should earn all the money required to support their family’s daily bread and their travel expenses to their native. There are around 50-60 families in Chennai doing this business. They are located in different parts of Chennai like manali, thirumullaivoyal, vyasarpadi etc.

In the middle of all these corporate lifestyle and technological advancement which can still see people struggle hard for their daily wages. Apart from sharing happiness and sadness as a family, they also share work and burden involved in the business. That is what makes them happy in spite of what they do and where they live.

These images is just an effort to depict their casual activities on a regular day

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