The annual mega festival of Durga puja in Kolkata, India was nominated for UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage for listing in 2020. The religious deities worshipped during festivals in Kolkata are sculpted as idols in the idol-making industry, which has been historically situated in the inner-city slum neighbourhood of Kumartuli. This industry operates locally and transnationally, drawing increasing seasonal employment from the rural hinterland, as well as international clientele through the place-based brand. The evolving social and cultural practices that have configured the working and living spaces of the idol-makers’ community in Kumartuli are the focus of this chapter. A combination of social practice theory and postcolonial theories are adopted as a conceptual framing, and a mix of architectural and human geography research methods are employed. The built character of the neighbourhood is in transition due to market forces and certain governmental policies’ shifts. Along with highlighting the issues that triggered this change, this chapter discusses the effects of this transition and the social, economic, and ecological challenges that the residents of this neighbourhood are facing in order to accommodate growing production numbers. Also, this paper questions whether the public policies and the recent UNESCO nomination would influence the marginalised idol-making community.
|Title of host publication||Urban Infrastructuring|
|Subtitle of host publication||reconfigurations, transformations and sustainability in the Global South|
|Editors||Deljana Iossifova, Alexandros Gasparatos, Stylianos Zavos, Yahya Gamal, Yin Long|
|Place of Publication||Singapore|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 2022|