Durga Puja goes green in Mumbai

Mumbai: The most sought after Durga Puja celebrations at Tejpal Hall will be a mix of art, music, literature and the construction of a pandal which uses eco-friendly material for the idols as always, says Maithili Chakravarthy.

This is the 90th year of the annual Tejpal Auditorium Durga Puja celebrations and the theme is environment. In fact, after the speech by the 16-year-old environmental activist from Sweden, Greta Thunberg at the UN, has got everyone talking about what adults can now do to rectify the damage. Jayanta Basu, the Mumbai Durgabari Samiti which organises the Tejpal Hall Pujo every year,, said, “We have been celebrating Durga Puja in an environmentally friendly way for many years and hope to continue doing so for years to come. After all, Durga Puja is celebrating victory of the good over evil. Environmental degeneration is one of the greatest evils the world faces today.”

Today, the awareness about the movement to save Aarey has spread far and wide and Bollywood stars, collegians, and school children have all joined in the protests. Picking up from there, the Tejpal durga puja pandal wants to keep it free of non bio-degradable substances like thermcol and plastic. Says Mitali Poddar, the convenor of Durgabari’s Protima committee, “In an effort to go green, we have ensured that our idol is eco-friendly and have refrained from using materials like plaster of Paris and the rest of the pandal will also be created from eco-friendly materials.” Materials like bamboo, hay and soil will be used to construct the ‘protima’ and additionally, no oil colours will be used to paint it either, this year. The cuisine will have typical Bengali with jhal muri, bhaande kore chaaa, khichuri, labra, rasagolla, bundiya, and different types of chutneys on its bhog menu on different days. In addition, the fare will be purely vegetarian.

The Samiti has also sought to enhance its role to conduct humanitarian and charitable activities by giving scholarships to underprivileged and deserving students through Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Education fund, by partnering with organisations like Robin Hood Army to help the bhog from their pandal reach those who can’t afford a basic meal. They also conduct activities like donating food grains and sarees made as offerings, to NGOs focussed on specific areas of social work. The five days of Pujo will be have many cultural events a near mini-Bengal for Mumbaikars. There will be other bangla dance performances by the Samiti members, and another dance performance by Prangan, a Bombay based school promoting Tagore’s music and songs. An Odissi dance school called Smitalay, which was named after the director’s friend, actress Smita Patil, will put up a performance too.

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