Durga Puja 2023: From artistic excellence to inclusivity; Kolkata pandals vie for accessibility
Kolkata organizations collaborate to promote inclusivity in Durga Puja with an award for pandals accessible to the differently-abled and elderly. A TMC councillor also honors underprivileged elderly women
Kolkata is witnessing a collaborative effort to promote inclusivity in community Durga Puja celebrations. Various organizations have joined hands to introduce an award aimed at encouraging Durga Puja organizers to make their pandals more accessible to differently-abled and elderly individuals.
The award has been established by a consortium of organizations, including the Forum for Durgotsab, which serves as the umbrella organization for community Durga Puja committees in the city. Additionally, the Rotary Club of Calcutta Old City and the NGO National Institute of Professionals, among others, are actively involved in this initiative. The award will recognize and honor pandals that excel in making their spaces more accommodating for differently-abled and elderly people.
Sayan Deb Chatterjee, the joint secretary of Hazra Park Durgotsab Committee, expressed his views on the initiative. He emphasized that while many awards traditionally focus on the visual elements, such as decor and artwork, the criteria for this award are different. The organizers appreciate that this award will evaluate the facilities provided to physically challenged and elderly individuals. This marks a significant shift in acknowledging the importance of inclusivity and accessibility in Durga Puja celebrations.
In the Gariahat area of south Kolkata, TMC councillor Sudarshana Mukherjee of ward 100 has also shown her commitment to inclusivity by honoring 100 elderly women from underprivileged backgrounds. This initiative, named 'Amar Durga Amar Maa,' is a promise to ensure that elderly women in the neighborhood are not neglected. As they worship Goddess Durga, they pledge to take care of the elderly women in their community, highlighting the spirit of compassion and inclusivity that the Durga Puja festival embodies.