Udhampur: A carver shaping wood and stone in the form of idols and statues have sought the government support here to preserve the art getting extinct.
Kuldeep Verma, a sculptor, who had inherited this art from his father, Romesh Chander Verma, feels that skill is gradually dying a slow death and the government must save it before it gets completely extinct.
The artist said, “my father tried hands on this art in the mid 80s and worked hard to gradually expand it.”
“The beauty is that neither my father nor I used any machinery except required tools like cutter, hammer, gouge or knife to carve a wood or a stone,” says Kuldeep Verma.
Asserting that they are carving granite (form of marble) and wood like sangwan (Teak), which is a high quality timber, walnut and Shisham (commonly known as Tali), to shape idols and sculptures.
“Initially when we started this art, my father carved ‘Om’ on a marble, and it was later supplied to many temples. This is how the journey started,” he narrated.
“We are getting wood and marble from Kashmir from our own pocket and there is no government support to save this form of art, which is almost lost because machinery has replaced the handmade art,” he expressed.
Kuldeep further said, “the government should at least provide some financial support to artisans like us and also promote our work at various quarters.”
The artist revealed that they have displayed their marble made idols, wooden sculptures and statues at many exhibitions organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Art, Culture and Academy and Police-Public Mela.
“Till date, nobody has approached us to offer any help in any form. We want the government to step in to help artisans and encourage the talent,” said Kuldeep Verma.
He said that on demand, they are supplying marble made idols and wooden sculptures to parts of Jammu and Kashmir.