Noble and high caste families ones’ ruled this Puja. People of lower castes were not even allowed to enter these Pujas and give offerings to Goddesses. But gradually the family Puja was given to “Barowaari” or community ones but it still had a long way to become “Sarbojanin” or secular. This Puja was started in 1942 for the common masses, underprivileged, backward classes and Harijans. Earlier, this Puja was held at Bhowanipore which shifted to Hazra Park in 1945. People from backward classes could participate freely in the Puja, which still continues today. Even today, as a tradition, about 1000 Harijans are seated and personally served with Bhog and Prasad by the committee members. This symbolises respect for the generations who have kept the city clean for years.
HAZRA Park Durgotsab celebrates the 80th Year of Durga Puja, Every year, Hazra Park Durgotsab surprises the audience by bringing forward new ideas. This Puja of South Kolkata has come up with an eye-catching theme ‘Tandav’ this time. This puja is located at Hazra crossing (inside Jatin Das Park).
Explaining the idea behind “TANDAV”
According to the Hindu scriptures, Tandav is an integral part of our life which takes place with or without our knowledge. Science is described in Hindu scriptures as the scientific truth of Tandav according to cosmology which is continuously happening every day as unseen creation. The daily cycle of destruction and creation is created in the nuclear instability that occurs at different levels of the universe and helps in keeping a balance.
When unbridled rains wash away vast tracts of land, rehabilitation centres emerge as the new homes for the homeless who have lost almost everything except their undying spirit against the frenzied excesses of nature. As the storm continues to wreak havoc, it destroys nature and human lives alike as thousands of trees get uprooted and laid on death beds. It degenerates an entire human civilisation, and with the power to demolish a modern society at the snap of its fingers, mother nature evokes a primitive battle between nature and modern civilisation. Modern machines and technology have helped the human civilization grow leaps and bounces, leaving behind our primitive beliefs, cultures and values. Despite all the great technologies and equipment that civilised society possesses today, time and again, mother nature has showcased her supremacy. This was again portrayed by the recent event, where the entire world succumbed to a microscopic virus. With the struggle for existence looming large, human society came to a standstill. Despite having the best of technologies, the virus shook the very cornerstone of human existence and showcased how vulnerable we are to the whims of nature. In no time, the virus spread its wings across the globe and affected the rich and poor and the old and young alike, transcending man-made barriers. Perpetuated by a culture of rugged individualism and capitalism’s prioritization of work above everything else, the rapid spread of the pandemic led to the shattering of many dreams, and many losing their loved ones. In reality, it created a Tandav in human history. But, being human, we continued to fight with a hope of a better tomorrow building on our experience of the past. Perhaps, the pandemic was an invitation to examine our societal dreams, and build something that can better support humans in crisis. In the process of rebuilding for a better tomorrow, we realised that it is a constant process of rethinking and reworking around our mother that would drive humanity ahead. Just like the sea waves, which are in a never-ending process of rebuilding. Many consider Tandav as a destructive force. But, traversing the pages of human history, one can see that Tandav is being referred to as a special moment which initiates the change process when something new is being conceived while something is destroyed. Change is a part of life, as nothing is static for long. Change is necessary for life, and so, change is inevitable. So, one must embrace this aspect and go along with the ups and downs of life. Instead of losing our hearts, we should learn from our past.
The quanta of great energy waves in the sound of the drum reach the human body in waves. The entire universe becomes a single source of energy. Again, that single energy is transformed and the universe becomes a reservoir of single energy which is transformed into multi-dimensional ones. That is, Tandava. It’s not just an event that happens at a particular moment, Tandav is actually a continuous process of the universe, which we usually know from the perspective of the divine.
Mr. Sayan Deb Chatterjee, Joint Secretary of Hazra Park Durgotsab Committee in his speech said, “This year’s theme is to think of the continuous process of the universe. The theme is Tandav which is actually a physical document of human life. The main idea of the theme is Tandava, which is basically no specific moment, rather a continuous process. According to the theory of creation, violence happens every day somewhere in this universe. The reservoirs of destruction and creation are formed in the nuclear instability occurring at different levels of the universe. The puja was initially held at Bhowanipore for a few years, it moved to Hazra Park in 1945. From the very beginning, this puja has spoken against untouchability.”