From idols to pandal, this Pujo is recycling, breathing life into junk
Another Pandal Takes You Right Into An Amazon Forest With ‘Tree of Life’
New Delhi: Huge jute bags filled with empty soft drink cans, glass bottles, discarded light bulbs, lids of large paint cans and other stuff catch your eye at Aradhana Park in east Delhi’s I P Extension. This is not a junkyard. More than a dozen people are quietly working here to to give shape to a spacious Durga Puja pandal of Indraprastha Matri Mandir Nirman Society. This discarded stuff is being put on discarded wooden pallets that are used for packaging to create beautiful items that will adorn the pandal.
The ‘best out of waste’ theme is not limited to the pandal. Goddess Durga, along with her Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartik, are also made of recycled items, including steel scrap, aluminium cans, glass, wood etc. The imposing idols, with that of Goddess Durga being 14 feet tall, has taken about a month to create.
“We didn’t want to pollute the Yamuna and these idols will not be immersed. The idea to create idols out of recycled material was that of our society member, Pinaki Ranjan Saha, and the work was executed by sculptors Mithu Chakraborty and Debasish Mishra,” says the society’s joint secretary, Kalyan Karmakar.
“We sourced all material from junk dealers and have used different items for different body parts of the idols. For instance, gas cylinders have been used to create heads, vehicle shockers for arms and tin and steel scrap for other body parts,” explains sculptor Mithu Chakraborty. “A frying pan was cut in two to create the large ears of Lord Ganesha and a funnel was shaped into his vahana, mouse.”
The society will be using a very small clay idol for the actual puja and visitors will be allowed to get a close look at the bigger idols which are works of art. Karmakar says the society will auction or sell the idols, so that these get a permanent place for display, be it in a museum or a corporate house.
This time the Durga Puja pandals in the capital have gone green, all the way. The theme may be the Kolkata mansion where Rabindranath Tagore was born to the flora and fauna of an Amazon rainforest, the message is the same — saving the earth — with a commitment to have a plastic-free environment.
Milani Cultural and Welfare Association Durga Puja in Mayur Vihar Phase I was looking at Harry Potter this year after Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (Satyajit Ray) last year, but for the intervention of an environmentally conscious teenager. “The theme was almost final when my 15year-old daughter, Mitasha, said that pollution and conserving the environment are much bigger issues that concern youngsters,” recalls Mrinal Biswas, general secretary of the association. That changed their plans.
From an eco-friendly idol to use of jute, wood and paper for decorations, the pandal is going to be a plastic-free zone. The centre of attraction will be a ‘Tree of Life’, the branches of which will cover the ceiling, and a light and sound show will recreate a rainforest inside. “The gate will showcase the five elements like fire and water, with two hands holding the earth made of flowers. Through vibrant colours, lights and layers of plywood, we are trying to create a 3D effect,” says artist Sudip Routh.
The popular Safdarjung Enclave Durga Puja, organised by Matri Mandir Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti, is also a plastic-free zone and the theme this year is Jorashanko Thakurbari, birthplace of Tagore.
“More than 5,000 devotees eat bhog at our pandal every day during Durga Puja. We used thermocol plates till last year but this year we have gone for betel leaf plates, cups and spoons. These plates are much more expensive but we are ready to do anything for the environment,” says Debashis Saha, chief coordinator of the pujo this year.
Janakpuri Bengali Association will serve bhog in steel plates and cups, says convenor Kalyan Pathak, while Rohini Matri Mandir, celebrating its Pujo’s silver jubilee, too, has sworn by use of eco-friendly materials and a plastic-free zone with women empowerment being their theme, according to cultural secretary Abhijeet Sinha.
BEST OUT OF WASTE: The idols are made of recycled items, including steel scrap, aluminium cans, glass and wood