October 22, 2020
With colourful lighting, big mandaps, and different theme gates, Durga Puja is celebrated in a grandeur manner in Cuttack. The real feel of festivity usually starts with Durga Puja as it is celebrated with full devotion in the silver city.
The last three days – Ashtami, Mahanavami, and Dusheera are the most decisive days. Apart from the beautiful decorations, Orchestra Melody for the citizens was one of the highlights during Durga Puja. The singing and dance performances by various melody artists were witnessed by hundreds of audiences during puja time. But the COVID pandemic has turned down everything that people have thought to do during this season festivity. The Odisha Government slowly relieved some of the economic activities’ restrictions, but some sectors are still rounded by the strict guidelines of COVID-19. Usually, the orchestra troupes are filled with bookings and rehearsing for their back-to-back performances in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. But Odisha High Court has directed no public gathering to allow more than six people in a particular place during Puja time apart from other restraints.
Around 90 melody troupes are registered, which includes 70 from Cuttack. Each of these troupes has 20 to 25 members, including singers, musicians, and dancers. During Ganesh Puja or Biswakarma Puja, they make around 30000 to 35000 incomes, and the price goes up in Durga Puja to New Year celebration programs.
Usually, the artists of such tropes are completely dependable with the income that comes from Puja performances. Even the wedding season, which starts by the end of the year, where these artists also perform seems like to be hampered as people organize a low-fi wedding due to the virus outbreak. And the Government restrictions on public participation and cultural activities have made it more difficult for the artists. They are forced to sit idle while some are selling vegetables and grocery items to sustain their livelihood.
These artists and musicians are entirely dependent on their profession because their livelihoods face real challenges, and now they are searching for an alternative means of income for their sustenance. Many of them have turned to small-scale farming and vegetable vending as part-time professions. Even some are selling their instruments because of the shortage of savings.
Article Written by Dikhya Mohanty
Image Source: Google
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