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And now some good thing about the CWG. There are people who believe in national pride and this one is a good example of the same. Surprisingly its associated with the CWG 2010!

Commonwealth Games has been embroiled in controversies with fresh allegations leveled against the organising Committee everyday. Some heads have rolled in the wake of damning allegations against hiring the services at exorbitant costs or using the services of little known firms. But this one deal that the organising committee made that it cannot be faulted for. The bid for manufacturing mementoes of the Games mascot for distribution among the participants was abysmally low, almost a third of the next lowest.

But then, for 63-year old Abninder Singh Grewal, a sense of national pride in being a part of Commonwealth Games was far more important than making money. So, the artist, who is engaged in making designer artifacts at Mohali adjoining Chandigarh, quoted a ridiculously low price for making miniature models of Shera, the mascot of the Commonwealth Games 2010 beginning in Delhi in October.

However, Grewal is relishing the challenge. He says, “I quoted a low price
because I just wanted to get the order. The consideration of profit and loss was secondary. I am proud that I have got the chance to contribute in a small way to this grand event being hosted by India.”

When Grewal quoted a price of Rs 650 per piece for the model which would be presented as a memento to the VIPs and top officials from various countries visiting the Commonwealth Games, the officials from the purchasing committing of the CWG were aghast. The next minimum price quoted by another firm was Rs 1,850.

“They were incredulous and sought assurance whether I would be able to
deliver at such a low price. I simply asked them to believe in me,” says Grewal who got the order through his liaison with Phulkari, the Punjab government’s handicrafts and handlooms emporium which stocks Grewal’s creations.

However, Grewal is intrigued by the small number of Shera models ordered to be made when thousands of athletes, officials and tourists would be coming to Delhi and would like to be presented with or purchase a Shera model. “Perhaps the
organisers realise there is no time left to place a huge order at such short notice,” he reasons.

For an artist, it has been a long and tortuous journey for Grewal who fought childhood debility that kept him bed-ridden for three years. “At that time I was 14. That is when I started painting and developed a key eye for art. There was nothing else I could do,” says Grewal who was once sarpanch of his native village, Nakoke in Patiala district.

He started making sculptures of women, Sikh personalities and motifs depicting Punjabi culture. However, fame came to him very late in life when he had almost decided to wind up his art workshop.

His creations are mostly in black stone (granite) or white marble. Now, he is engaged in making statues of decorated soldiers to be installed at war memorials. His sculptures of freedom fighters and deceased Punjab politicians are installed at traffic junctions in various cities of Punjab. But it is with Shera that Grewal has found a new identity.

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