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Bengal Awards: Durga Pujas themed on Citizenship row, Farmer Protests gets selected

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The list of “Serar Sera Puraskar” (Best of the Best awards) announced by the West Bengal government on Monday included Durga pujas themed on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the 1947 partition of the country.

Another category of the government’s “Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman” award was chosen for a puja centered on the farmer’s revolt. 

For the past few years, the state has been holding Durga pujas with contemporary themes.

Best of the best Awards

Indranil Sen, Minister of State for Cultural Affairs, announced that 36 Durga puja committees will receive the “Best of the Best” award for excelling the aesthetics standard in every way. 

Barisha Club, Naktala Udayan Sangha, Chetla Agrani, Ekdalia Evergreen in south Kolkata, and Kashi Bose Lane in north Kolkata are among the 36 pujas.

Bhager Maa

The NRC is the theme of the Barisha Club’s puja in the Behala area. 

Bengal Awards

The goddess is represented as a mother being brought in a vehicle that appears like a cage with her four children, titled “Bhager Maa” (mother split). The marquee is divided into two halves, one for India and the other for Bangladesh, and the mother and her children are stuck in the middle.

Migration of refugees by train

In honor of the country’s 75th anniversary, the Naktala Udayan Sangha has dedicated their pandal to the train migration of refugees during the country’s split. 

To illustrate the plight of refugees, a train from that era was rebuilt. Khushwant Singh’s “Train to Pakistan” and Bengali author Atin Bandyopadhyay’s “Neelkantho Pakhir Khoje” (In search of Neelkanth bird) – two notable novels about the country’s division – were both referenced in the representation.

The farmers’ agitation

The farmers’ agitation is the topic of the Durga puja in Dumdum Park Bharat Chakra in Kolkata’s eastern outskirts. The club is the only one on the shortlist for the award’s “Anya Bhavna” (Different thinking) category. 

The club portrayed the farmers’ agitation by erecting a tractor replica on the approach to the pandal. The names of farmers slain in the agitation are etched on the tractor’s two wings.

Biswa Bangla Awards

The Biswa Bangla Awards, which include categories like “best pandal,” “best innovation,” and “best Covid-19 awareness,” were also announced by the minister. 

The Best Covid Warrior award went to the Alipore Bodyguards line Durga Puja, which was organized by Kolkata Police members and their families. 

Puja committees in 20 areas outside Kolkata will also receive the Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman award in several categories.

Mamata grants ₹50k to each committee

The West Bengal government announced a grant of Rs 50,000 to each Durga Puja committee in the state for the second year in succession, mostly to compensate for lost sponsorship and extra expenses caused by the Covid pandemic.

Last month, Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi granted free licenses and a 50% discount on power tariffs for the committees organizing Durga Puja this year.

He was addressing a meeting with various Durga Puja organizers from Kolkata and other parts of the state, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was present. 

Last year, Banerjee provided a slew of benefits, including a Rs 50,000 payment to all puja committees.

Because the model code of conduct is now in effect, the chief minister stated that the state government had sought approval before announcing the grant.

“There are certain rules due to the by-elections. We have taken permission before organizing this program since it will be too late to announce puja protocols after the by-polls,” said Banerjee who is likely to contest the by-poll from Bhabanipur  in south Kolkata.

She urged puja organizers to “strictly follow Covid-19 safety protocols and wear masks”.


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