A week after Kolkatans bid a teary farewell to Ma Durga, morning walkers at Baishnabghata Patuli were in for a surprise to find an idol of the goddess stationed there. On probing, they found out that the idol of Naktala Udayan Sangha, which was wrapped in a cover till Thursday morning, will soon be installed beside Patuli lake side. And Naktala Udayan Sangha is not the only Puja to be contributing to the city’s beautification. Several Puja committees are going all out to do their bit in making the city look as pretty as a picture.
Sandip Dasgupta, cultural secretary of the Naktala Udayan Sangha, said they did not immerse the idol, but decided to install it at Patuli. The club had earlier gifted its pandal decors that now find a place of pride in the same area. “Every year, we do something for the city’s beautification. This time too, it’s no different. The idol will be installed in a few days and the residents, who throng the area in the mornings and evenings, will have something to feel proud about,” he said.
There are a few other Pujas who are in talks with both government and private organisations for the same purpose. Saibal Bose, member of Barisha Club, told us, “We have kept the idol inside our club. Talks are on with a few organisations and we’ll soon give away the
idol for the city’s beautification.”
Rabin Ganguly, president of Dum Dum Tarun Sangha, is proud of their idol made of sandstone. “The material was sourced from Odisha’s Konark . The idol bears a stamp of the centuries-old sandstone art and we felt the need to preserve it. We are already talking to a few organisations and will soon finalise where the idol will be kept,” he said. About breaking away from the tradition of immersion, Rabin said they have immersed the ‘ghot’ after Bijoya. “Durga Puja has graduated from being a religious festival to a celebration of art.”
Artists too are a happy lot. Avijit Ghatak, who graduated from The Indian College of Arts & Draftsmanship in 2014 and made the idol of Alipore 78 Pally, said his work has already been preserved at the museum beside Rabindra Sarovar. “There was a time when Durga Puja was all about following a tradition. After artists started making idols, they brought new ideas to the table. This led to the need to preserve the idols, which are also works of art. The government did its best to cater to the need of the artists and started preserving idols at the museum. That has also encouraged the artists a great deal,” he said. This year, Avijit made the idol with fibreglass and added that it can stay intact for 25 to 30 years.
Debasish Kumar, Member, Mayor-In-Council (MMIC), Parks & Gardens, said many idols are going for long-time preservation. “That’s possible because the idols are made in mediums like fibreglass, stone and can be preserved for long. If this adds to the city’s beauty, what else can one ask for,” he said.