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R-Day tableau on Vivekananda 150

The Bengal float had been missing at the Republic Day parade for 13 years after the defence ministry had rejected the Left government’s proposal for a tableau on nuclear non-proliferation at the Delhi event in 1999. Under the Mamata Banerjee government, the state’s float returned to the parade last year with a tableau on Santiniketan.

One wondered what the theme would be this Republic Day and how Delhi would react. A tableau on Darjeeling tourism or Jungle Mahal, perhaps? Thankfully a less controversial option — Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary — was at hand.

A 10ft-high replica of Vivekananda standing on the Sripada Parai rock (now known as Vivekananda Rock) at India’s southernmost tip, a replica of Belur Math, an oversize Vivekananda bust, Ramakrishna as kalpataru, and busts of Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Vinoba Bhave were made with fibreglass at Monty Pal’s studio at Kumartuli last month to deck out the Bengal float this year.

They have since been sent to Delhi, where the rest of the tableau is being made. Surajit Chakraborty, managing director, Adland Publicity Pvt Ltd, which is in charge of the design and fabrication, told Metro: “The float design is a tribute to Vivekananda and his teachings and all those great men with whom he came into direct contact or whom he inspired. A team of over 100 artists and technicians are working on the tableau in the defence ministry’s Rashtriya Rangshalla camp at Delhi cantonment.”

The singers and dancers on the Santiniketan float last year, also designed by Adland, were from Calcutta.

“This time, performers from Delhi and Bengal will travel on the float depicting scenes from Vivekananda’s life. As background music, we will use Vedic chants,” added Chakraborty.

The state information and culture department selects a theme from ones submitted or they suggest it themselves. “This year, the selection was unanimous. The expert committee of the defence ministry, comprising artistes and other professionals, met 5-6 times between June and August before approving the final design and 3D model,” said Chakraborty.