Neither were there dhaaks nor the fragrance of shiuli but still a good number of people came dressed in their best to attend the grand prize distribution ceremony of Sharod Samman 2016 which was jointly organised by The Statesman and Dainik Statesman at Mount Milestone Hotel and Banquets in Siliguri recently.
Like previous years The Statesman and Dainik Statesman put up Sharod Samman 2016 in collaboration with Siliguri Model High School Bright Academy Home Deacute;cor CK Tattoo and Mount Hotels. The awards were announced on 8 October for categories like best idol best theme best pandal best lighting and best safety measures. Three eminent people formed the panel of judges mdash; Tapas Kumar Chatterjee former registrar of North Bengal University; Suresh Mitruka president of the Siliguri Bar Association; and Ajay Sahu assistant professor Department of Hindi Siliguri College.nbsp;
Spread across Siliguri the following clubs participated in the Sharod Samman 2016 mdash; Rabindra Sangha Sarbojanin Durgotsav Hyderpara Sporting Club Rathkhola Sporting Club Jatiya Tarun Sangha Durga Puja Siliguri Sanghashree Sarbojanain Durga Puja Dadabhai Sporting Club Sarbojanain Durgotsav Nabankur Sangha Durga Puja Subrato Sangha Sarbojanain Durgotsav Winners Club Sarbojanain Durgotsav Matigara Mayadevi Club Balaka Club and Pathagar Jatiya Shakti Sangha and Pathagar Central Colony Sarbojanin Durgotsav Agrani Sangha Durga Puja Swastika Yuvak Sangha Durga Puja Saktigarh Sarbojanain Durgotsav Ujjwal Sangha Sarbojanain Durgotsav Agragamee Sangha Durgotsav Upkar Athletic Club Sarbojanain Durga Puja and Milanpally Sarbojanin Durga Puja.
At the end of it all 10 were selected for awards after the judges visited each of the pandals and observed the ambience and embellishments. Central Colony Durga Puja Committee and Saktigarh Sarbojanin Durga Puja Committee received the best idol trophy while Subrato Sangha Sarbojanin Durgotsav and Winners Club Durga Puja Committee were adjudged to have the best theme. Ujjwal Sangha and Jatiya Shakti Sangha and Pathagar got the nod for the best pandal while Jatiya Tarun Sangha and Siliguri Sanghashree Club won the judges’ appreciation for their lighting. Rathkhola Sporting Club and Mayadevi Club Matigara took home the trophy for best safety measures.
Besides Chatterjee the winners were awarded by Rakesh Sahay director Bagdogra Airport; Bibhuti Bhushan Sarangi principal Siliguri BEd College; SS Agarwal principal Siliguri Model High School; Sachin Agarwal chief executive officer Mount Milestone Hotel and Banquets and KK Choudhary president The Statesman.nbsp;
Speaking on the occasion Chatterjee said that pujas these days have become more of a festival than a ritual. ldquo;It has now become an occasion for celebration. The traditional flavour is conspicuous by its absence but it is the duty of organisers to bring it backrdquo; he said.
Agarwal stressed on the need to sensitise puja organisers about preserving the cultural heritage of Bengal. ldquo;The clubs and puja committees who have certain responsibilities towards society should realise the necessity to preserve the traditional culture of Bengal during the biggest festival of the state. Instead of gyrating to Hindi film songs and disco music during the immersion of idols the organisers of the various puja committees in Siliguri should play traditional music. They should dress themselves up in traditional attires and take the idols for immersion in a disciplined processionrdquo; he said.
Sahay observed that the Durga puja in Bengal was a unique festival and people belonging to different linguistic and ethnic backgrounds organised it with the same pomp and gaiety. ldquo;The Dussehra festval in my hometown Ahmedabad is held around the same time as Durga puja. I find Durga puja is as exciting and absorbing as Dussehrardquo; he said.
Sarangi shared Sahay’s sentiments and said that they had selected the final winners after careful consideration of each aspect. ldquo;It was extremely difficult for us to select. All the participants had excelled in the art of craftsmanship and aesthetic embellishments. But we are convinced that we have done justicerdquo; he said.nbsp;
Choudhary noted that Siliguri was not only one of the fastest developing towns in India but Durga puja like many other festivals in town had a unique traditional fervour. ldquo;A festival wedding demonstration or procession mdash; Siliguri is never at rest. It is vibrant with activities involving people of all strata and backgrounds rich and poor young and old professionals and students. The spirit of festivity transcends all physical and mental divides. Here people belonging to different religious and linguistic communities live in peace. The town can serve as a model of harmony and brotherhoodrdquo; he said.
The two-hour-long function kicked off with a nice Ganesh Vandana presentation in Gaudiya Nrityangik by noted danseuse Sushmita Ghosh and her team of dancers comprising Divya Paul Nikita Neogi Ritu Tudu Sampa Sarkar and Shoyeta Bannerjee. It was followed by a solo Dashamahavidya recital by Ghosh.