When the Durga Puja festivity reaches its crescendo, people from all the communities sink their differences and become an amalgam of souls. This is the beauty of India.
Breaking all barriers, irrespective of caste, creed, and colour, they enjoy every moment of the fiesta. Every year the festival with all its pomp and grandeur leaves an indelible impression in the minds and psyche of masses. The 10-day cultural extravaganza creates an aura that lasts only to be rejuvenated by the next year’s preparations.
No doubt, the scale and magnitude of Puja celebrated in Kolkata surpasses all other celebrations across the country, because the organisers delve deep for ideas to make something spectacular and innovative to soothe the common eyes.
Spectators become awe-struck when they see the efforts and beauty behind the making of pandals. Bringing out such man-made marvels have helped spread the puja flavor to all parts of the world.
Organised by the Government of West Bengal, this year Kolkata witnessed the fourth edition of its mega Durga Puja carnival on Red Road. The carnival showcased the award-winning idols of Goddess Durga from this year’s festival.
Seventy-nine clubs participated in the carnival with the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her cabinet colleagues, foreign delegates, consular corps, members of the civil society and senior bureaucrats. Two VIP galleries were built where the CM sat along with other VIPs. For the carnival, tight security arrangements were made with watchtowers put up at vantage points to keep vigil. Quick response teams of Kolkata Commandos and thousands of cops guarded the approach to Red Road and a police control room had been set up just beside the pavilion to coordinate with all the teams spread around and in its vicinity.
Policemen displayed great skills in managing the crowd that had turned up for the carnival. While praising the Kolkata police traffic management, the spectators told ‘Protector’ that the arrangements were excellent.
Carnival, a brainchild of Chief Minister, this year saw the participation of 79 Durga Puja committees. A carnival involves a parade involving joy, social communion in which everyone, regardless of faith, age or origin take part. One of the salient features of the carnival is that it crosses all barriers and becomes a melange of masses.
Colourful tableaux and folk songs accompanied by traditional dance marked the Durga Puja carnival on Red Road on October 11.
In the procession, some puja committees women members were dressed in red and white sarees while men were wearing white kurta-pajamas. The tableaux tried creating awareness on climate change with a call to preserve the environment. Thousands of foreigners also participated in this mega carnival and fully enjoyed every moment of it.
Durga Puja carnival started in 2016 where 39 of the most popular puja committees of the city were invited to take part in the event.
The number of participants has grown since then. The procession starts from Fort William until the immersion of idols on the banks of the Hooghly. The kilometer-long stretch becomes the cynosure of all eyes as puja committees try to outgun one another in a spectacular show of splendour. Last year, more than 2,500 foreign tourists had attended the function that strengthened Bengal’s position on the world’s tourism map.
The Kolkata police’s ‘Torendos’ team stole the show at the carnival with their breathtaking stunts. Their spectacular and daredevil performance on bikes won the hearts of the viewers. Performing jaw-dropping stunt is not an easy task, it demands regular practice, mental strength, and specialized training. Months of training under the specialised force training centre helps them prepare for the momentous occasions. The Torandos efficiency in trick riding on moving bikes, opening salute, back standing balance, side balance, ladder skill balance, single jimmy, belly ride, backside belly ride, tiger head with ladder balance, helicopter mode, butterfly, tiger head sitting, three-man backside balance, shoulder balance and pyramid ( Theme Maa Durga Immersion) were a treat to watch.
Even the dignitaries and foreign delegates were overwhelmed after watching the breathtaking stunts of ‘Torendos’ team on Red Road.
The senior Nodal Police officer Col Nevender Singh DCP Combat Battalion said, “Impressed by the August 15 parade, the honourable chief minister had directed us that Kolkata Police Tornados should be part of the carnival day festivities. It was then decided that the performance has to be in sync with the theme of the carnival. All the jaw-dropping stunts with rituals on the bike with the right kind of attire were planned to perfection. The relentless efforts of the team once again won the hearts and minds of the people.”
By Mohammad Asif and Pankaj Kumar Sharma