19/10/2015 4:23 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

With Its Theme Of Women Empowerment, This Pandal Conveys The True Ethos Of Durga Puja

Amitabha Gupta via Getty Images
Close up view of Goddess Durga Idol at Bagbazar, North Kolkata

NEW DELHI -- The existing paradox of Goddesses being worshipped and women being discriminated against in the same land will come alive this year in Durga Pujas across the national capital region with pandals sporting themes, which endorse women empowerment.

Maruti Vihar Sarbojanin Durgotsav (MVSD), one of the oldest community durga pujas in Gurgaon, has decided upon the theme, "India Let Her Live- Save the Girl Child," drawing inspiration from the Prime Minister's "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" programme.

"The theme was chosen to highlight the plight of the girl child, particularly in Haryana where female foeticide is still rampant. The lowest among all Indian states, Haryana's sex ratio shows that the mindset of the society has not changed despite the country's progress in different domains," says Anit Kumar Ghosh, President, MVSD.

Seeking to project the anticipated evolution of society from such social evils to a state of enlightenment, the initial stretch of the venue is adorned with dark art works representing female foeticide and gradually transforms into a brighter, positive ambience, finally culminating at the idol of Goddess Durga, the greatest example of an empowered woman.

"We believe that in order to bring about a change, government alone is not enough. Citizens should also play their part in the society. It is with this spirit that MVSD has chosen this theme," he says.

The designs for both the concept and the idols have been conceptualised by the internationally acclaimed sculptor Biswajit Majumdar, best known for his iconic teracotta gate at the Surajkund Mela, which is held annually in Faridabad.

"While the framework and the bodies of the idols are being made at Chittaranjan Park in Delhi by local artisans under the supervision of Majumdar and his team, the faces, costumes and jewellery have been procured from a sculptor's studio in Krishna Nagore in West Bengal," says Ghosh.

The committee which will be celebrating its silver jubilee this year, will host a youth festival on the same theme, with activities like debates and cultural competitions for college students.

"We will hold a Youth Festival 'YOXY GEN 2015' that will witness performances by bands and dance groups from different colleges. Debates and street plays on the theme will also be a part of the festival," he says.

Using the Raahgiri platform in the city, MVSD also organised a three kilometre long "Run to Save the Girl Child" marathon earlier this year, besides a T-Shirt designing contest on the theme.

"The winning design was used on the T-shirts that were worn by the participants at the run," he says.

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