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Peace crusade on canvas

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KUHELI CHAKRAVORTY   |   Siliguri   |   Published 01.04.03, 12:00 AM

Siliguri, April 1: Protests against the “atrocities of the coalition forces” and compassion for “war-ravaged Iraq” will find expression in prose, poetry and paintings on Sunday.

Not willing to throw routine life out of gear with rallies and demonstrations to raise their voice against violence, the Siliguri Municipality with the support of other local organisations has hit upon a novel idea — a 12-hour-open-air cultural rally at Bagha Jatin Park— to vent “anti-war” emotions.

The open-to-all programme promises to invite the soul to pour out its deepest emotions. A giant canvas will be in place to allow emotions of artists from all over Siliguri flow free in colour. The youth will also be given a free hand to describe their feelings through art.

“We will invite the contemporary cultural stalwarts, writers and poets, including departmental heads of colleges and intellectuals of different cultural spheres, to give us an insight into their world of words, and their perspective of the war,” said SMC mayor Bikash Ghosh.

Schoolchildren, too, have been invited to participate in a sit-and-draw event to understand what they make of this mindless violence. “This is not a contest. Their paintings will be displayed in an exhibition for all to see,” Ghosh said.

Branding their move “an effort of the people of Siliguri to show compassion to the victims of war”, Ghosh said the poems and paintings would be displayed throughout the day at Bagha Jatin Park.

Professional artists have also been requested to prepare hoardings, collages and graffiti on the evils of the war and the suffering of the victims. “The programme is a general appeal by the people of Siliguri and anyone willing to participate”, said Shanti Chakraborty, an SMC member.

The enthusiasm of the townsfolk about “this unique venture” is palpable. “We are happy that the SMC has come out with such a unique plan for a noble cause. This is more meaningful than the bandhs or rallies that are called on weekdays causing us immense problems”, said Hyderpara resident Shantanu Das.

“Since it's on Sunday, my sister and I can join the sit and draw event,” said a visibly excited Shantanu's son, a standard three student in a local school.


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