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Art seems to have beaten spirituality!

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  9 Oct 2016 12:00 AM GMT

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 8: Artistic excellence – be them artisans’ magic touches or decorators’ glittering glows – is all that is glaring in the festivity on the Mahasaptami Day of the Durga Puja in Guwahati. Spirituality, however, has been pushed to the back burner.

Pandal hoppers are seen thronging each and every puja in the city. The pleasant weather today was encouraging for people to throng the puja pandals. The crowed of people is likely to go up on the Mahashtami, Mahavami and the Dasami. These three are the days when devotees dare all unpleasant weather.

The taste of people does change with the change of social environment, level of education, the advent of newer technologies etc. What is remarkably glaring in this Durga Puja is that most of the artisans and decorators have turned thematic. They want to get across their respective messages through their artistic works while making idols, decorating the pandals or while illumiting the pandals. For them, the Durga Puja is a very strong medium to get their ideas across. It seems that for them no other canvass is as big as the Durga pandals are to get their respective messages across. For instance, pandal decorator Shambhu Sinha hailing from Kolkata has successfully depicted the plight of the ‘real heroes’ of Indian struggle for independence at Kala Pani, the Colonial Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicober Islands that were used by the British, especially to exile political prisoners of India. Sinha has done such a feat at the pandal of Athgaon Sarbajanin Durga Puja in the city. According to Sinha, his is a live show as the cells of the Cellular Jail have real men and women languishing in them.

Likewise, skilled in woodwork, Bijoy Sutradhar, hailing from Burdwan in West Bengal, made idols of Goddess Durga and others at Adabari Tiniali on Pandu Port Road in the city. His is a live workshop at the site. This ethnic style and design of wooden doll, according to Sutradhar, is supported by UNESCO, New Delhi. The pandal with as many as 2,370 pieces of wooden idols and dolls depicted Indian culture.

Guwahati’s local Nuruddin Ahmed has been successful in decorating the pandal of Bishnupur Sarbajanin Durga Puja to a fine art. The thematic presentation of the idols and the pandal is – a 70-foot-tall idol of the Goddess stands atop the globe. Mahishasur has been depicted as the symbol of all evils like drugs, liquor, etc. A whip-like rope comes out from the Goddess, wraps the body of Mahishasura and ties him tight. A number of hands depicting evil forces have also protruded from Mahishasura. The lion, which the Goddess is riding on, is made up of a number of hands, depicting united efforts by the stakeholders of society to defeat the evil mece like drug paddling.

An eco-friendly pandal is that of yantara Club Durga Puja at Kumarpara in the city. The puja pandal has depicted as to how human civilization became a reality.

Big budget seems to be an aspect of competition among the puja committees in Guwahati, with spirituality being pushed to the back burner. Another significant feature of the Durga Puja in the city is that a huge sum of cash is set to go out of the State as most of the big budget puja committees have hired artisans, pandal decorators and lighting decorators from other States, mostly from West Bengal.

A few big budget Durga puja committees this year are Bishnupur Sarbajanin Durga Puja committee with a budget of Rs 22 lakh, yantara Club Durga Puja Committee with a budget of Rs 15 lakh, Rest Camp Durga Puja with a budget of Rs 24 lakh, Geeta gar Sarbajanin Durga with a budget of Rs 25 lakh, Bamunimaidam Railway Colony Kalibari Durga Puja with a budget of Rs 10 lakh, Guwahati Sarbajanin Durga Puja at Latasil with a budget of Rs 15 lakh, Santipur Sluice Gate Durga Puja with a budget of Rs 17 lakh, Rehabari Beelpar Durgapuja with a budget of Rs 25 lakh, etc.

The puja market is still to calm down as buyers continue to crowd Fancy Bazar, various shopping malls and street vendors in the city.

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