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’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - Sid­[email protected] times­

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.

Ishant Chauhan

BEST OUT OF WASTE: The idols are made of re­cy­cled items, in­clud­ing steel scrap, alu­minium cans, glass and wood

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