This Article is From Oct 19, 2015

Women Empowerment Themed Durga Pujas

Women Empowerment Themed Durga Pujas

Maruti Vihar Sarbojanin Durgotsav (MVSD), one of the oldest community durga pujas in Gurgaon, has decided upon the theme, "India Let Her Live- Save the Girl Child."

New Delhi: The existing paradox of Goddesses being worshiped and women being discriminated against in the same land will come alive this year in Durga Pujas across the national capital region with pandals sporting themes, which endorse women empowerment.

Maruti Vihar Sarbojanin Durgotsav (MVSD), one of the oldest community durga pujas in Gurgaon, has decided upon the theme, "India Let Her Live- Save the Girl Child," drawing inspiration from the Prime Minister's "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" programme.

"The theme was chosen to highlight the plight of the girl child, particularly in Haryana where female foeticide is still rampant. The lowest among all Indian states, Haryana's sex ratio shows that the mindset of the society has not changed despite the country's progress in different domains," says Anit Kumar Ghosh, President, MVSD.

Seeking to project the anticipated evolution of society from such social evils to a state of enlightenment, the initial stretch of the venue is adorned with dark art works representing female foeticide and gradually transforms into a brighter, positive ambiance finally culminating at the idol of Goddess Durga, the greatest example of an empowered woman.

"We believe that in order to bring about a change, government alone is not enough. Citizens should also play their part in the society. It is with this spirit that MVSD has chosen this theme," he says.

The designs for both the concept and the idols have been conceptualised by the internationally acclaimed sculptor Biswajit Majumdar, best known for his iconic teracotta gate at the Surajkund Mela, which is held annually in Faridabad.

"While the framework and the bodies of the idols are being made at Chittaranjan Park in Delhi by local artisans under the supervision of Majumdaer and his team, the faces, costumes and jewellery have been procured from the sculptor's studio in Krishna Nagore in West Bengal," says Mr Ghosh.

The committee which will be celebrating its silver jubilee this year, will host a youth festival on the same theme, with activities like debates and cultural competitions for college students.

"We will hold a Youth Festival 'YOXY GEN 2015' that will witness performances by bands and dance groups from different colleges. Debates and street plays on the theme will also be a part of the festival," he says.

Using the Raahgiri platform in the city, MVSD also organised a three kilometre long "Run to Save the Girl Child" marathon earlier this year, besides a T-Shirt designing contest on the theme.

"The winning design was used on the T-shirts that were worn by the participants at the run," he says.

Arambagh Puja Samiti, in Paharganj here is set to celebrate the festival with real life Durgas who have been fighting against all odds to achieve their aspirations, with the theme "DuggAmar-Empowering Women."

The theme is inspired from veteran director Satyajit Ray's film "Pather Panchali," where the character of Durga symbolises courage, hope and inspiration.

"While we worship Durga, in reality most women are subjected to exploitation, violence and humiliation. Our puja is a silent protest against all forms of violence against women," says Abhijit Bose, Executive Chairman of Arambagh Puja Samiti.

The Samiti has designed a 40-feet-tall fibre-glass pandal in the shape of an Adivasi woman with a bow, an arrow and a sword in her hand to represent Durga, who has the power to annihilate all violence.

"We want to send out the message that like Durga, all women are strong enough to punish their violators," Mr Bose said.

The main pandal will have installations and portraits of ten iconic women including Kalpana Chawla, Mary Kom, Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai, Bhanwari Devi among others to salute their contribution, bravery and achievements.

Moushumi Koyal and Tumpa Koyal who were active in the protests against the Kamduni rape case, sex workers from Sonagachi and various NGOs like Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee who work towards the betterment of women have been invited to inaugurate the festival.

"In association with Sulabh International, we have also invited fifty widows from Vrindavan so that they can cherish their childhood puja days," he says.

The theme is being constructed by eminent painter Partha Biswas and sculptor Tushar Kanti Das along with students from Government Art College, Kolkata.

While artist Salil Bhattacharya is making the idol of Durga, two famous artists from Kumartuli have been specially invited to design the sarees and ornaments for the idol.

Bangiya Parishad of Sector 56, Gurgaon, which iscelebrating their tenth year, have themed their puja on "Stree Shakti."

"The theme for the year is based on ten forms of Stree Shakti (woman power). Apart from goddess Durga, we will have individual temples of nine other swarupas of Maa Durga along with our other most celebrated mother - Bharat Mata," say organisers.

Although the idols are procured from Delhi, traditional Bengali saris and famous terracotta artifacts and models will be used to decorate the idols, with trained artists from Santiniketan being brought in to execute the pandal design.