At a time when safety of women has become a cause for concern everywhere, some Durga Puja organisers in and around the city have decided to have special pandals dedicated to women empowerment and their safety.
With themes ranging from celebrating the girl child to female foeticide to acid attack, the organisers hope to bring about a palpable change in people’s mindset and instill sensitivity towards the fair sex.
Bondhu Mahal, a social organisation, has decided to have “Celebrate Girl Child” as its theme in its maiden Durga Puja celebration to be held in Indira Nagar.
“We would counsel the pandal hoppers on women’s issues. We would also take a written pledge from visitors urging them to keep the interest of the girl child foremost on their mind. A copy each of the written pledge will also be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav,” said Bondhu Mahal puja president Jayanata Pramanik.
Pramanik said entertainment and relevant issues would go hand-in-hand this year and the theme would be executed with the help of some women organisations.
“We plan to put up banners on both sides of the road to ensure more awareness on the issue,” Pramanik added.
Taking a cue from Hindustan Times’ initiative to help acid attack survivors, the Navdurga Puja committee of Barabanki has decided to dedicate its celebration to victims of such crime.
“Among other things, we will be holding a debate on ban on acid. The event will be judged by acid attack survivors Kavita and Meena Soni. Kavita will also be provided with a stall where she could sell her papermade jewellery and make some money,” said TK Roy, the convenor of the puja. There will also be banners and posters all around spreading messages like ‘say no to crime against women’. Roy said the congregation of huge crowds at the point of pandal creates just the right venue for a social cause.
“Several Bengali families visit puja mandaps, which make them an ideal place for spreading messages that have social importance. The pandal will also have posters on both sides, which will also highlight the issue. There will also be drawing competitions for children,” he said. This year, the Durga Puja celebrations kick off on September 30 and culminate with a visarjan on October 4.