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Durga Puja 2022

Forty students fan out across Durga Puja pandals, donning judge’s hat

Kolkata Knight Riders presents TTIS Choto Chokhe Boro Pujo rate each puja for awards in five categories

Our Special Correspondent | Published 01.10.22, 06:45 AM

Forty young judges, 10 routes and some serious business — the student judges of Kolkata Knight Riders presents TTIS Choto Chokhe Boro Pujo met early in the morning to go for their assessment round on Day 1 on Friday.

The students from various schools and colleges in the city were split into teams of four and sent to various pandals across Kolkata. They had to rate each puja for awards in five categories — Best Puja, Best Idol, Best Pandal, Best Innovative Puja and Judges Choice.

What floored most students were the social causes that many puja organisers championed through their themes.

“The pandal at Chorebagan Sarbojanin on my Maniktala route was the most impressive. It was made of broken glass pieces and rods. Everything was handmade and the organisers provided employment to people who had lost their jobs post-pandemic. I was happy with the way the puja committee tried to help the marginalised lot. The whole pandal was made of recycled material and was environment-friendly,” said Abheri Banerjee of Class XI, Modern High School for Girls.

This was not the only pandal with a cause. The organisers of Chaltabagan Lohapotty used solar energy to save electricity.

“Half the lights in the pandal are solar-powered. The organisers also did not compromise on fire safety measures and had special rooms for the elderly and pregnant women. It was clearly a puja that cared,” said Abheri.

Kakurganchi Jubak Brinda in another part of the town impressed many students with its depiction of the rights of the transgender community.

“I was impressed with the way the theme spread awareness among the visitors. The organisers also used audio clips to talk about the challenges the transgender community faces and the difficult journey of accepting one’s identity,” said Udita Bhattacharya, a student of Presidency University and one of the senior judges on the Beleghata-New Town route.

The judging round turned out to be a huge learning experience for Class IX student Angikar Dasgupta.

“For the first time, I went pandal-hopping to look out for unique elements rather than just to have fun. Most pandals on my route, the Ultadanga area, stood out for their simple yet environment-conscious themes. Ultadanga Pallyshree Durga Puja particularly stole my heart. The theme depicted Gond art and they had got tribals from Madhya Pradesh to do the artwork. It was a fantastic way of giving prominence to folk art. Telengabagan Sarbojanin Durgotsav had commissioned some special children to paint a wall. I found that heart-warming,” said Angikar of Salt Lake CA School.

Many pujas showcased a slice of history — Mitali Kankugachhi portrayed the nitty-gritty of a traditional puja at rajbaris or zamindar houses, Newtown Sarbojanin focused on pata chitra and traditional art forms of Bengal and Ultadanga Sarbojanin showcased Mahalaya and its history.

“I had a great experience judging various pujas with such a great theme. My favourite was Hatibagan Nabin Pally as its ambience was very warm and welcoming. Most pandals I visited had put in a lot of hard work. It was a memorable experience,” said Niharika Rai, of Class X, DPS Newtown.

Last updated on 01.10.22, 06:45 AM

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