Ways of nature are amazing and I marvel at the thought of how organized and automated everything is in the world of nature. No machines, no datasets, no metrics and no strategies, everything functions the way it should without any intrusion. Naktala Udayan Sangha’s Durga Puja pandal this year touches upon a topic that not many would choose to attempt – Birth or ‘Janma’
The pain that a Mother goes through to give birth to a life is simply astounding. I find the entire process of life’s formation extremely intriguing – from a foetus to a baby. The act of conceiving and to let a life grow inside of you, I think, is one of nature’s many fascinating wonders, as Kahlil Gibran once said – ‘Birth and death are the two noblest expressions of bravery.’
Execution of the concept and the final masterpiece speak volumes about the artist’s exceptional skill in conceiving and beautifully presenting an unconventional idea.
The pandal is as unique as the choice of theme. Different aspects have been taken into consideration and the pandal promises to be an enriching experience. As you approach the pandal, a huge structure with clusters of earthen pots meet your eye, immediately spurring curiosity. At the entrance, on a screen, a video plays on loop. In the video, earthen pots are falling to the ground and shattering. Earthen pots depict womb and the shattering depicts death. The entire pandal is in the shape of an upside down earthen pot, depicting the way a child is born.
More than 15,000 earthen pots have been used to make the pandal and a team of 50 – 60 artisans have worked relentlessly to give shape to the concept. Work had commenced 4 months ago and what was a playground few weeks ago, is today a stage for art to connect with spectators from far and wide.
The interiors emanate a sense of peace. Right in the middle of the artificial water body, under the striking roof is Maa Durga’s idol. The entire arena is surrounded by 1000s of earthen pots. A mechanism beautifully synchronizes the movement of different elements to depict the process of conceiving.
Maa Durga’s idol is also depicted in her role of being a nurturer, protector and a guide for her children. The entire setup left me speechless. I have never before seen a thought being represented in such a remarkable manner. Hats off the chief art director, Bhabotosh Sutar!
The roof depicts heaven; the center area depicts Earth while the lower part of the pandal depicts hell. The pandal has won 1st prize by Asian Paints and there were on display many trophies to speak about the excellence. Song by Kabir Suman was adding on to the concept of the theme.
I’m extremely thankful to Mr. Kaushik Lodh, member of Naktala Udayan Sangha for explaining the theme. Here’s the gist of the theme as narrated by the designer himself.
A translation –
I’m Bhabotosh, my birth was not for my existence and I have no control over my death. But, my life’s responsibility is mine. Therefore, after my birth, begins the real struggle to make sense of my birth. A major part of our life is often spent in attachment towards people and things, illusions and enjoyment. Thereafter, we work hard to feed our body and mind with water, light and air. This gives birth to thoughts, fears and concepts. This is the birth of knowledge – Birth of consciousness. This is our actual birth. If we search within us, we can find the real strength of the soul. So many sounds can be heard when we put our ears to an earthen pot and the sound of life taking shape also is a special aspect of birth. Keeping in mind various such aspects of birth, Naktala Udayan Sangha brings to you a depiction of birth by the way of earthen pots. You will be able to hear the sound wave of air and water as heard from an earthen pot, you will be able to see an idol of your mind’s eye and you will be able to experience the necessity to realize the real reason of your existence.
Representing a concept as sensitive and profound as this in a manner that enthralls lakhs of visitors and gives a novel perspective to ordinary day to day objects evokes a high level of admiration and the experience shall stay with me for long.
Here are some other theme pandals that also convey a message by the way of art –
- Tridhara Akalbodhan, Theme – Perspectives
- Chetla Agrani, Theme – Depicting the Charm of Old Kolkata
- Suruchi Sangha, Theme – Depiction of a Traditional, Bengali Home
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