Prosenjit, Srijit Mukherji and Tanusree at Santoshpur Lake Pally, which was crowned True Spirit Model Puja 2013. Picture by Rashbehari Das
The decade-old movement called CESC The Telegraph True Spirit Puja found new torchbearers on Sashthi evening, the recognition and reward for being awake to the ethos of a safe, responsible celebration appropriately coinciding with preparations for Devi bodhan (awakening).
For Santoshpur Lake Pally, the verdict was a vindication of its persistent efforts to follow the guidelines of the True Spirit Puja, held this year in association with Kutchina. “Three Star in 2008, Two Star in 2010, Five Star in 2011...Model Puja in 2013. We have been trying so hard for this,” general secretary Rana Dasgupta said, barely able to contain his emotions.
In the eyes of the True Spirit judges’ panel, Santoshpur Lake Pally hardly put a foot wrong.
Mishawr Rawhoshyo star Prosenjit and director Srijit Mukherji, German consul-general Rainer Schmiedchen, CESC’s deputy general manager for customer relations, Arijit Basu, actress Tanusree, Namit Bajoria, director, Kutchina, Mukti Gupta, managing director of Mukti Group, and Swayam Prakash Misra, deputy general manager of sales (east), Dabur India, had set off from Bengal Club at noon for one final round of the pujas picked from a list of 298 on Wednesday.
“A safe puja is one which leaves sufficient space for vehicles, especially fire brigade and ambulance, and treats the pandal material with fire retardants,” additional commissioner of police-III Debasish Roy had advised the judges before flagging off the convoy.
Santoshpur Lake Pally did that and more.
On Chaturthi, the organisers gifted walking sticks to 20 children living with blindness. With the TSP prize money of Rs 50,000, the organisers are mooting a tie-up with an old-age home in Sonarpur. “Eighteen inmates of Arogya Sandhan are coming to spend the day at our puja on Ashtami. We want to do more for them,” Dasgupta said.
“The pujas are embracing modernity while retaining nostalgia,” judge Srijit said of the smoke detectors in the hibiscus-shaped pandal.
Shibmandir Sarbojanin Durgotsab Samiti, adjudged Five Star Puja this time, has installed eight CCTVs in a pandal dedicated to the power of the sun.
Both Santoshpur and TSP veteran Shibmandir impressed CESC’s Basu with their wide exits, vital in emergencies. The German consul-general scored them high in terms of community participation. “Their volunteers are also very effective in crowd control,” said Tanusree.
“We will spend the award (Rs 25,000) on Shibmandir Shiksha Niketan, our evening school for 96 slum children,” said general secretary Partha Ghosh.
The prize money from their last appearance in the TSP final, in 2004, had fetched a computer for the school.
At the Hatibagan Sarbojanin pandal, another Five Star Puja, the choice of Mahishasura’s horns as the principal element of the pandal drew mixed reactions. The craftsmanship of artists from a Midnapore village was applauded, but the judges expressed concern over the use of real buffalo horn.
CESC The Telegraph True Spirit Puja 2013 was held in association with Kutchina. The initiative was partnered by the Calcutta police, Calcutta Municipal Corporation and West Bengal Fire Services, with Park Plaza as hospitality partner
Santoshpur Lake Pally
Five Star Puja
Shibmandir Sarbojanin Durgotsab Samiti
Four Star Puja
Behala Nutan Dal
Kashi Bose Lane Durga Puja Committee
Kankurgachi Sarbojanin (Yubak Brinda) Durgotsab
Puja That Cares
Kidderpore Milan Sangha
True to Social Commitment
Barisha Tarun Tirtha
Truly Green Puja
True To Tradition
Dum Dum Park
Kutchina ‘She’ Award
66 Palli Sarbojanin Durgotsab
It’s a great initiative. Usually during fun times we forget about small things that could make a big difference. To have special entry and exit for children and the elderly is an important thought. While I applaud True Spirit for all these efforts, there’s one suggestion I’d like to make — so many food stalls pop up at this time and no one checks what one is eating. I wish there was a way to monitor that
I’m happy to be a part of the True Spirit initiative this year. I liked how the organisers have balanced the aesthetics with safety measures. They were innovative about organising a safe puja
This is a great initiative. The True Spirit Puja is so different from the rest. It’s all about organising a safe, happy and a meaningful puja. This not only makes the whole experience more enriching but also raises awareness. Going beyond the glitz and glamour, we could look for pujas that met safety norms and were socially committed
You can understand that the puja committees care about the criteria set by CESC The Telegraph True Spirit Puja and that means that the movement’s mission is successful