Sundeep Bhutoria

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

`Dhak Mahotsav' at Chaltabagan Durga Puja

With (From Left) Mr Jeffrey K Reneau, Director, American Centre, Kolkata, Stephane Amalir, Director Alliance Francaise du Bengalee, Mrs Amalir, Mrs Melchiori (right) wife of Consul General of Italy.
October 18, 2012: The sounds of dhak marks the advent of one of the world's biggest annual social events – The Durga Puja.
With Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua
Maniktalla Chaltabagan Lohapatty Durga Puja Committee organised a dhak mahotsav (festival of drums) called the `Kutchina Dhak Mahotsav' yesterday that was the first Puja event attended by His Excellency, M K Narayanan, the Governor of West Bengal, in the presence of many celebrities, actors, foreign consuls, artists, sports persons and eminent Kolkatans.
Dhak – a traditional drum is an integral and inseparable part of the Durga Puja. It is through the mystic and rhythmic beats of the dhak by dhakis the coming of Maa Durga to her children from her celestial abode is announced.
With Maneka Sorcar
The beats of the dhak sends Bengal and much of eastern India into a Puja frenzy that is spiritual, cultural, social and material at the same time – worship, entertainment and business go hand in hand. 
The whole of Bengal waits for the Pujas which is one of the biggest annual social events in the world.
I had a moment of pleasant embarrassment during the inaugural function. 
The Governor of West Bengal, Shri M K Narayanan (picture), in a lighter mood tried his hand at the dhak along with two of Bengal's finest tabla maestros Tanmoy Bose and Bickram Ghosh. He also hailed “Durga Maa ki Jai”. The crowd and the mediapersons repeated him in raptures. Then, jokingly, and all of a sudden, he announced my name in the same vein meaning I was instrumental in organizing a great function. 
I was too stunned to react as I saw His Excellency and whole lot of guests smiling and breaking in peals of laughter. I will always remember that moment.
Among the eminent persons who attended the Dhak Mahotsav were Bickram Ghosh, Tanmoy Bose, Pt Tejendra Narayan Majumdar (sarod player), actress Locket Chaterjee, Gari, Debleena, Chaiti Ghoshal, magician Maneka Sorcar, film maker Sujoy Ghosh, P K Banerjee (footballer), Dibyendu Barua (Grandmaster), D J Akash, Mainak Bhaumik, Diplomats of Italy, France, US Mission in Kolkata and so on.
With Jeffrey K Reneau, Director, American Centre
The foreign diplomats and their wives also tried out their hand at the dhak amid a big crowd that gathered around the event.
The Maniktalla Chaltabagan Lohapatty Durga Puja Committee, of which I am the Chairman, began in 1943 as a small celebration in a shop, has now grown to become one of the top five crowd-pullers in the city. Thousands of visitors, overseas guests and eminent citizens of Kolkata visit our puja pandal each year. The Chaltabagan Durga Puja Committee is not just a Puja Committee but more of a social welfare organisation.
On one hand, the Chaltabagan Puja has been at the forefront of innovation with socially relevant eco-friendly themes like solar lighting, use of re-cycled waste, sustainable development etc., on the other hand, Chaltabagan has introduced and popularised newer concepts like starting khuti puja, sindur khela and dhak mahotsav to enabling bluetooth downloads of Maa Durga's images on visitor's phones. The Puja Committee is also engaged in many social welfare activities.
This year's theme is the Sun- the sustainer of life. The idols, in traditional style, seem to emerge from the deep blue sea. The pandal would be covered by a mesh of iron net from outside that would render a glowing effect of the sun at night. The colour scheme is in sync with the various hues of the rising and setting sun. Paintings and designs would depict the origin and life on earth.
The Chaltabagan Puja Committee also arranges for wheelchairs for the elderly and physically disadvantaged during the pujas and organises blood donation camps and other community services.
The night time view of Chaltabagan Durga Puja has been eye-catching and many people have called to congratulate me.
ess bee

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