Mail News Service
Jamshedpur, Sept 13: The Durga Puja committees of the three districts of Kolhan Region are in a quandary as neither the state government nor the three district adminstrtations have issued any clear cut directive regarding protocols to be observed during celebration of one of the biggest festivals of the country. As such, preparations for Durgotsav have yet to take shape although barely a month is left for the big event. At other times, pandal stuctures of big and medium puja venues used to get underway while image makers would have started giving shape to concepts on straw and clay; donation books would have been in the process of print and souvenirs being worked upon on edit tables. But those are matters of ifs and buts.
The Deputy Commissioner of Seraikela-Kharsawan, Iqbal Alam Ansari has stated that there has been no word from the state government on the matter yet of Durga Puja celebration mode and, as such, no directives could be issued. But the pandal structure of one of the most attractive Durga Puja pandals of the Kolhan Region, Jairam Youth Sporting Club of Adityapur has commenced and the patron of the club, former legislator Arvind Singh stated that Durgotsav would be organized in accordance with coronavirus protocols announced by the government. But other Durga Puja committees under the Adityapur Municipal Corporation who also organize Durga Puja in a very big way are in a catch – 22 situation as no official communique has been provided either by the government or the Saraikela-Kharsawan district administration. In fact, DC Iqbal Alam Ansari had a video conference with Jharkhand Chief Secretary regarding updates on COVID-19 measures, there was no discussion as such on the issue of Durga Puja protocols.
Sudip Mahapatra of Road # 14 in Adityapur rued, “People look forward to celebrating Durga Puja in a big way as this is one festival when people celebrate life. Relatives, visitors, guests get together and enjoy with whatever is available. But joy is unbounded. But this year, in spite of unlock, the spirit is missing.
With earning sources hit, people in general will prefer for minimum adequacy on the survival front rather than on new clothes and related gaiety.”
The scenario is not different in West Singhbhum either. People and committees have yet to make up their minds on the manner of Durga Puja celebrations this year. There is absolutely no trace of any pandal coming up anywhere in the district. Cloth shops, readymade stores, shoe showrooms and other purchase points lack the hustle bustle that is otherwise usually visible at such times. In brief, the festive spirit is stuck in the throat of expectations.
Closer home in the district of East Sighbhum that is considered the ‘hot bed’ of festive fervor, the spirit is unmistakbly lacking. The crowds in the market are dangerously out there but out of compulsion for requisites of daily survival. It is the dismal story of the same old brinjals and potatoes, rice and lentils and that occasional cup of chai amidst the bag loads of money and measly wallet full of vegetables. Things were the other way round in former times. The normal, common man, desists thoughts of festivities amidst the race against time to sweat for that extra buck.
Bimal Ray, secretary of Jamshedpur Durga Puja Committee or the traditionally konwn Ghasi Club that has been organizing Durgotsav close to 100 years, said, “We are not yet sure how to go about preparing for Durgotsav. We have yet to recieve any official information from the district administration. Of course, Puja will be traditionally observed but the manner has not yet been decided. We are keeping our fingers crossed and awaiting official directives but we do hope that the directive comes sooner than later for, either way, it takes time to execute plans.”
New Baradwari Durga Puja Committee which has been organizing Durga Puja since 1957 has remained in the pandal hoppers’ iterenary since inception. The simple decor but the grandeur of the Goddess, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik in their resplendent Daker Shaaj have continued to attract visitors through generations with an abundance of multi hued dresses to grab eyeballs. Subroto ‘Bapi” Das, one of the torch bearers of the Committee observed, “The crowds may be thinner with COVID-19 protocols implemented. The spirit is simply not there. We are not sure how to go about organizing this big annual event. The City SP has said that Puja is not to be organized in a big scale but only in a humble manner. How humble is the million dollar question and an administrative directive will decide the manner in which to organize this year’s Durgotsav. With barely a month left, the state government and the district administration should be understanding enough to provide a clearcut directive.”
Housewife and pre nursery school Principal Monisha Das perhaps, spoke out for every middle class family heart when she averred, “At other times, people prepare budgets for expenses on new clothes, shoes, menus and expectantly look forward to arrival of their children staying away from the city, relatives and guests. Although the unlock phases are gradually being implemented, the usual gusto that is earmarked for Durgotsav is simply not there. As for me, the school is closed and fees are not forthcoming. I have to think about my teachers and staff members. As of now, I am praying for good health and the spirit of the occasion. I leave it up to the Mother and Her decisison.”
The Kash flowers have begun dotting the skyline amidst the greens of the fields and blue of the Dalma backdrop. Sheuli flowers are spartkling in the morning sunlight heralding the season of divine fervor. The more optimistic of the Dhaki community are tightening their drum cords and collecing plumes to decorate their drums. But will their pilde enhancing beats be heard this year or remain in the pulsating corners of fond memories will remain confined to the inner folds of adminstrative files until official Durga Puja celebration orders come out of Pandora’s Box.