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‘Religion does not matter'

P. Samuel Jonathan


Mecca Wood Carving Shop is popular for carving figurines of Hindu deities


- Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

Livelihood issues:Firoz Khan giving finishing touches to a door at Jampani in Guntur district.

JAMPANI (GUNTUR DT): With a chisel in one hand and a mallet in another hand, Firoz Khan is busy on a sultry afternoon carving a wooden figurine.

His shop, Mecca Wood Carving Shop, has been popular for wood carving for the last two decades but what makes it special is it has been acclaimed for carving figurines of Hindu deities.

“People come from far off places, including Hyderabad and Vijayawada, and place orders to carve figurines on door and window frames. The art has been practised and perfected by my family for many generations,'' Firoz says even as he is busy giving the finishing touches to the figurine of goddess Lakshmi.

But in these days of mechanisation, money is hard to come by, but Firoz is optimistic about the future. “I carve images of Viswakarma, Gayatri Devi and Surya Bhagawan. Very few can match my artistry when it comes to carving Surya Bhagwan,'' a beaming Firoz says.

There are about 10 Muslim families living in this village that have been dependent on wood carving to make a living. Artisans are not sure whether the future generations will take up the work.

“I am not sure if my son takes up my profession, though I would like him to continue. There are a lot of avenues to make a living now a days,'' asserts Firoz. “We do it for a living and religion does not matter,” he says.

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