I have been away from my blog for exactly 14 days!!! Goodness, that’s a fortnight!! Had never not ‘blogged’ for this long, not even during our hectic travel schedules!!
Guess what have I been up to? Actively supporting the NGO (a non-governmental, non-profit organisation), Spandan Foundation, that I am a member of, in organizing a Durga Puja in Powai, Mumbai. Spandan was formed in January this year to further socio-cultural and environmental causes in Mumbai. In April, we brought to Mumbai, it’s first-ever Book Fair, the Mumbai Book Fair. A wonderful opportunity for book lovers from around the city to touch, feel, smell and then buy their books directly from publishers who came from different parts of the country. Not to mention the cultural extravaganza in the form of Bihu dance, violin recitals, panel discussions, book readings, performances by musical bands….
And now, come October, it’s time for the most important event in the Bengali calendar – Durga Puja. However, as a team, we strongly felt that celebrating Durga Puja couldn’t be our sole aim. We had to connect with our society with a larger purpose, a cause. And hence, were certain that the Durga Puja had to be a Festival with a Purpose.
Upon looking around us, we found that ‘purpose’ staring in our face – ours is a nation that worships the Durga made with clay, but cannot respect the ‘Durga’ made with flesh and blood — it’s own women. Newspapers scream out horror stories of violence against women. Why are we so regressive as a society? Why do we bind our women in social bondage and look at her only as a carnal object? Why can we worship Her but not respect her? Why do we put flowers in Her feet, but kill her in the womb? Why a Durga Puja when she is repeatedly teased her at street corners, raped and brutalized? Through our collective pledge DUGGAamar: Empowering Women, Spandan Foundation strives to sensitize the society on the crying need to acknowledge that ‘Respecting Woman is Worshiping Durga’.
Some of the initiates we are undertaking as part of the DUGGAamar: Empowering Women campaign are — self-defense workshop for women who; free workshops on Micro-finance and Micro-insurance for women of lower income group; felicitation of women achievers; an enrollment drive for english, grooming and employ-ability Training for Women.
On the cultural side, we are working hard to bring a cooking completion called Pan & Ladle, The Kitchen contest; a children’s dance-drama inspired by Thakuma’s Jhulli; a Bangla play called ‘Naath Jamai’; a ‘Pancham Night’ with original RD Burman musicians; a performance by the contemporary Kolkata folk band Bolepur Bluez.
Powai Sharadotsav will be held at Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Opp Cafe Mangi, Adishankaracharya Marg (Main Road JVLR), Mumbai-400076 from Oct 9th to October 14th. The pictures shared in this blog give a detailed schedule of both the religious and the cultural events.
Make sure you visit us!!
Every detail/information available at — https://www.facebook.com/SpandanMumbai