The gesture of sharing the festivity and joy during the ongoing Durga Pujas has made the joie de vivre more meaningful to some sections of the society and the organisers.
The organisers of a famous Durga Puja community in Kolkata have built their marquee decked with artefacts and stuff with an eye to the visually impaired to help them experience the festive grandeur which they otherwise miss out.
The Samaj Sebi Sangha in south Kolkata's Ballygunj area has been credited with erecting a giant installation of goddess Durga's face, crafted with 12,000 iron screws. By touching the artwork, the visually challenged will get a fair impression about how the face of a traditional Durga idol looks like.
Not only that, the pandal, designed by city-based artist couple Subhodip Majumdar and Sumi Majumdar, has a separate brailed path for the visually impaired to help them walk down
to the main idol independently. Words like 'Ma' and 'Jai Ma Durga' have been inscribed in Braille on the inner walls.
The organisers who generated a lot of buzz last year by creating the country's then longest 'Alpona' (traditional street graffiti), have draped the marquee in a shimmery jacket of lights and ensured that the interior has been aesthetically decorated with artefacts made out of nails and thread, woodwork and paperwork using identical methods taught in the blind schools.
The artist couple has designed a face, placed at the top of the structure, which covers the eyes with hands that symbolises the eyes of the unsighted. Right below, two front panels depict the solar and lunar eclipses, indicating restoration of the eyesight for the blind.
Asked about the theme, one of the organisers explained that the club thought of the same last year when the committee interacted with a city-based social organisation dedicated to the service and benefit to the visually impaired. “We were immediately inspired by the stories that narrated the plight of the blind and we decided then to give it a concrete shape during the pujas this year,” he said.
According to him, the club has a penchant to peddle with themes having a social angle. The club officials who interacted with the blind benefited by the organisation were touched by their plight as the blind often feel left out during such festivities as the pujas.
The pandal, he pointed out, also highlights the challenges being faced by the community of the visually impaired and the growing importance of eye donation.
"We thought if we can execute the concept properly it would be a great experience for the visually challenged. Our motive is also to create an awareness about the importance of eye
donation among the common people who visit our marquee. It is also part of our duty to bring back the light in the life of those who are sightless," he claimed.
The organisers have also tied up with four city-based blind schools - Southern Avenue's Lighthouse For the Blind, Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys' Academy in Narendrapur, Behala-based NGO the Voice of World and the Blind Person's association - which are expected to bring at least 500 visually impaired persons to the pandal over the five-day festive period.
Every visually impaired person visiting the marquee will be given sheets with the puja itinerary, details of the concept of the puja and the Durga mantra in Braille.
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