The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Revelry ratings and festive feel

Four, three and two — the True Spirit initiative reaches for the stars, while community pujas gear up for the final two days of fun

it was a tough decision. But many rounds of inspection and deliberation resulted in 26 pujas being honoured out of over 100 entries received for CESC The Telegraph True Spirit Puja initiative.

From the initial respondents, 79 pujas were short-listed for detailed evaluation. Judges spread out across the city to assess the various committees’ performance in fields including safety, access for all, attention to fire and electricity norms and social commitment.

This was whittled down to 12 finalists, who were visited by three teams of judges on Ashtami morning, including Rupa Ganguly, Probir Roy, Suranjan Das, Subir Mitra, Shanu Lahiri, Swami Bodhasarananda, Kunal Sarkar, Bonani and Pradeep Kakkar, Dilip Sen, D.N. Majumdar, Probir Bose, Simon Parkes and representatives from The Telegraph.

The assessment does not award organisers, but identifies those upholding the “true spirit” of the Pujas, committed people who are keen to undertake community development schemes. The winners will be supported in the execution of these plans.

While Shibmandir Sarbojanin was named True Spirit Model Puja, and Lake Town Adibashibrinda and Ajeya Sanghati earned the 5-Star tag, there were many who ran them close.

4 Tank Yubak Brinda, Dum Dum, one of the 4 Star pujas, got full marks for care for the environment. Held inside a park, the organisers covered the ground with a plastic sheet to protect the grass and soil from damage.

Barisha Sristhi also bagged a place in the same category. The use of ‘green’ materials, including terracotta, weighed in favour of the Barisha club. The puja, born out of a social welfare organisation, created a unique ambience for all visitors.

Another 4-Star effort, Sarodiya Sammilani, Ekdalia, deserves a pat on the back for not being drowned out and sticking to its ethos in the backyard of one of Calcutta’s busiest pujas — Ekdalia Evergreen. They have held on to a homely atmosphere, with everyone in the neighbourhood pitching in to distribute bhog among all who visit in the evenings.

Ten pujas were adjudged to be 3 Star candidates — Shahid Nagar Sarbojanin, Dhakuria; Adarsha Pally, Behala; 41 Pally, Behala; Ahiritola; Maniktala Chaltabagan; Children’s Park Sarbojanin, Doctor’s Lane; Kalighat Milan Sangha; New Alipore Suruchi Sangha; Ultadanga Pallyshree and Basak Bagan Adibashibrinda.

These were followed by 10 in the 2 Star bracket — Tangra Gholpara; Naba Milan, CIT Road; Ballygunge Cultural Association; Parasar Nabaday Sangha; Badamtala Ashar Sangha; Jagaran Club, Selimpur; Sinthee Agragami, Sintheemore; Nandana Yuba Sangha, Behala; Rabindra Kanan Sarbojanin, Beadon Square, and 22 Pally, Northern Park.

Non-stop festivity

Mahashtami was packed with activity at the housing complexes participating in The Telegraph ING Vysya Hand-in-Hand community puja programme, in association with Sony Entertainment Television. And the action continues through Navami and Dashami.

In south Calcutta, Golf Green Phase I began the day with a quiz, followed by diya-lighting and dhunuchi naach. Green View on Southern Avenue, too, had the same events. ODRC Rental in Behala and Karunamoyee G Block held Sera Uttor, conch-blowing and diya-lighting. Regent Estate residents took part in Sera Uttor and diya-lighting, as did Motijhil Housing in Dum Dum.

Swaranika in Shakuntala Park had organised a spot quiz, while Bank Garden in Bansdroni and Peerless Nagar in Panihati had conch-blowing and diya-lighting. At Golf Green Phase III, IV and VII the schedule had conch-blowing, quiz and Sera Uttor, and at Sikhar Bindu in Brahmapur, and Anushakti, in Salt Lake Abasan, it was quiz and Sera Uttor. A quiz and an antakshari session were the big draws at CIT Singhibagan in Madan Chatterjee Lane.

Malancha in Baranagar started with Sera Uttor and ended with diya-lighting. Prasad Nagar on BT Road held both events, plus a quiz. Vinayak on KC Ghosh Road had organised Sera Uttor and Anandam in Dum Dum held conch-blowing. Purbachal Sarbojanin had conch-blowing, Sera Uttor and dhunuchi naach, while at Labony Estate, it was Sera Uttor and conch-blowing. The residents of Karunamoyee A, B, C and D blocks participated in antakshari and spot quiz.

On VIP Road, Anupama had Sera Uttor and dhunuchi naach, Dakshinayan held sit-and-draw and conch-blowing, at Gitanjali it was antakshari, dhunuchi naach and Personality of the Puja award, and Minakshi had organised antakshari, diya-lighting and dhunuchi naach.

BP Township in Baishnabghata had Sera Uttor and quiz, Purbayan on Purbachal Main Road held Sera Uttor and dhunuchi naach and Udayan in Survey Park had a quiz, antakshari and Sera Uttor. Happy Nook in Patuli had organised a quiz, dhunuchi naach, antakshari and diya-lighting.

The events continue on Navami, with antakshari at Golf Garden Natun Pally, Green View, Golf Green Phase III, IV, VII and Purbayan. On Dashami, it is at Dakshinayan and Abhudaya. Sera Uttor is on at Golf Green Phase I, Swaranika, Bank Garden, Peerless Nagar, Prasad Nagar and Karunamoyee A, B, C and D blocks.

Dhunuchi naach is being held at ODRC Rental, Sikhar Bindu, Bank Garden, Malancha, Peerless Nagar, Prasad Nagar, Vinayak, Anandam, CIT Singhibagan, Motijhil Housing, Anushakti Abasan, Karunamoyee G block, Labony, BP Township and Udayan. On Dashami, it will be held at Regent Estate and Karunamoyee A, B, C and D blocks.

Diya-lighting is on at Swaranika, Purbachal Sarbojanin, Labony, Anupama, Gitanjali and Purbayan. Quiz contests have been organised at Sikhar Bindu and Minakshi, and conch-blowing at Anushakti Abasan and Gitanjali. In addition, Golf Green Phase I rounds off with a sit-and-draw on Dashami.

The prize-giving ceremonies, sponsored by Nestle, will be held primarily on Saturday and Sunday, for the contest winners as well as the family and personality of the Puja awards. That, for this year, concludes the Hand-in-hand para pujas, without much pomp and show, but with enough fun and frolic to last until next time.

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