Saraswati Puja in schools is not new, but Garfa Dhirendranath Memorial Higher Secondary Girls' High School celebrated the puja in a different tone.
A team of judges, among them celebrities like Bonny Mukherjee, Ankita Dutta, Mallar Ghosh, judged the Saraswati Pujas at 11 different schools for the 2018 Saraswati Vandana awards. The team first visited Hindu School, where the theme was Bengali iconic detective characters and their importance in the shaping of our childhood.
Teacher Madangopal Dutta commented, “A lot depends on our imaginings of various characters portrayed throughout our childhood. It was the 201th celebration of the school’s puja. Hare School Kolkata, celebrating their 200th Saraswati Puja, chose the Fifa U-17 World Cup as their theme with a beautiful idol decorated in Daker Saanj.
The school also celebrated footballer Nagendrea Prasad Sharbadhikari. Scottish Church Collegiate School celebrated Biswa Bangla, representing each and every region of Bengal and their cultural heritage. The idol was very traditional. Founded in 1936, Calcutta Jubliee Institution’s theme for this year was “Achin Pakhirdeshesobar Nimontron” Amit Gupta, the institution’s president, said:”To understand the importance of nature we must understand the importance of birds.” Calcutta Bidya Bhavan’s Puja was quite unique.
Without ordering an idol they obtained an old frame which they painted and completed. The aura was very traditional. ‘Kannayshree” was the theme at Bidhannagar Municipal school. The secretary of the pujo committee said: “All the work was done by students and associated teachers using waste materials.” Arjyamandir Prathamik Vidyalaya chose peace and calmness as their theme, as “with so much violence all around it is important to find inner peace.” Jadavpur Vidyapith chose “Shikorertaane” or calling of the roots as their theme. Ms Mishutni Dutta, the teacherin- charge said, “There is a dual significance in the theme. First, it is the tribal roots of our culture and secondly, as every year the students, ex-students join the puja it’s a kind of homecoming or reunion for them.”
La Martiniere High School and La Martiniere Primary School represented devotion through their theme. The whole place was decorated like a mandir with “shlokas” written all over the wall. “We want to spread happiness through the power of shlokas.” said teacher Vandana Paul. Ballyguange High School depicted Gond craftmanship in their puja.
The pandal was beautifully decorated with the paintings of one of the most ancient tribes of India. Last but definitely not the least was Apeejay School, Kolkata, with a very traditional puja. Calcutta Jubilee Institution was picked as the eventual winner, followed by La Martiniere, Arya Mandir, Jadavpur Vidyapith and Scottish Church, in that order.