Highlighting their stand against terrorism, batting for environment protection and belting out musical arrangement incorporating honk sounds of yellow cabs, over 30 community Durga puja organisers paraded their award-winning idols in a carnival here on Friday ahead of the immersion in the Hooghly river.
Organised by the West Bengal government amid tight security arrangements, as many as 39 award-winning community Durga Puja idols showcased varieties of artistic creation in the road show of tableaux called 'Pujor pore thakur dekha' (viewing idols after the Puja) at the Red Road here, the venue for the Republic Day Parade as well.
The 39 pujas are winners of Bengal's 'Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman' award.
The state government also announced the setting up of a permanent exhibition centre in the city to showcase the artwork of Durga Puja pandals.
Some community pujas marked their golden jubilees this year while others are pushing for their 100th year.
Regardless of their vintage quality, several of the organisers put up marquees aligned with current affairs. Their floats in the parade also reflected those themes.
The Tala Barowari, which is in its 96th year, highlighted its stand against terrorism. Proclaiming the pen (education) is mightier than the sword, the organisers put up models of a pen's nib in front of the Durga idol atop the tableau. They envisaged a "terror free" world where education enlightens all.
Kashi Bose Lane puja committee in north Kolkata had children walk besides its tableau holding saplings and wearing helmets representing miners. The tableau stood as a caution: environment shouldn't be harmed in the wake of industrialisation. Its organisers asserted the carnival "will surpass the Rio Carnival".
Organisers of the Beliaghata 33 Pally marquee, who dabbled in nostalgia surrounding the Ambassador yellow taxis, drove home the point with a lively instrumental composition incorporating a range of honks and hoots of the quintessential Kolkata yellow cabs.
They had artistically incorporated 15 taxis, 200 silencer pipes, 300 car doors and other parts of the vehicles to signify the importance of the cabs in their sprawling marquee in north Kolkata.
South Kolkata's Suruchi Sangha, which topped the awards, brought out their theme of a aGlobal Village' that depicted the world as one country. The organisers had recreated Bhutan as their pandal theme which was also mirrored in the tableau with Buddha figures and models of monasteries.
The carnival was also high on cultural elements.
Manipuri dancers graced the Bosepukur Talbagan float while Dum Dum Tarun Sangha tableau was accompanied by the iconic Chhau dancers of Bengal. The Tridhara Sammilani float, a crowd favourite this year with its tribal culture themed marquee decked up with buffalo heads, had African dancers jiving to lively tribal beats.
As the procession moved on, organisers attired in ethnic wear danced to the tune of 'dhaaks' (traditional drums) and enacted the rituals of the five-day Durga puja, including the 'Sindoor Khela' custom where married women smear one another with vermillion. Rabindra sangeet and folk music accentuated the festive atmosphere despite the fact that the revelry had come to an end.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee presided over the event accompanied by her cabinet ministers and celebrities.
"This Durga Puja carnival is the first step towards our goal of Biswa Bangla. We will go bigger and bigger in future. We will present 75 tableaux next year. We will set up a permanent exhibition centre at Newtown to showcase the artwork of Durga Puja pandals," she said.
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