It was in 2009…The wide blue sky started beaconing with the drifting patches of fleecy white clouds, the mild fragrance of shiuli, a glimpse of swaying Kaash in the green fields and the murmuring streams create a celestial mood in Nature, which reminded us of the oncoming Puja. When the spirit of euphoria set in and the pulse of puja started rising…. Satjelia Island painted with the sign of destruction. Devastation all around whether in the huts or in the minds and when it seems hard to pull on lives nobody can even dreamt of festivals. At that helpless time some people organizes a durga puja to bring some smile to the village people. With whole hearted participation in making Durga Idol, pandals, lighting, cultural programs, community kitchen they could reach the objective- to inspire and encourage positivity.
They believe fellow feeling is more important than relief. Thus they received utility items as prizes for participation and gained lost confidence. The outcome of these training is the handicraft items produced by the women of rural Bengal. This year they are here. Crossing the river and muddy roads of village, mother goddess is coming to kolkata. Sabala - a Bengal based agriculture dependent village. History unfolds that at about ten years back the womenfolk formed groups and went on saving meager but precious amount of money. When saving took a considerable size, they initiated entrepreneurship in the form of producing jute products, gahonabori, cane crafts, artificial jewellery, etc. and start selling them in local markets and fairs. That was the beginning of their earning. The whole thing happened with the benign support of SENATE ,Sharad Swanirbhar Committee.
The village Sabala with its brick red roads and greenery all around resembles vermillion mark on parted hair of a newly married bride. At the prime point of the village there is a community center (Natmandir) which will be the stage of Swanirbhar Durga. In the encircled clay cottages, different groups work to make unique products of craftsmanship and artistry. Some operate traditional ‘Dhenki’ to take out rice from paddy. All products are exhibited in the centralized selling point ‘Swayambhara’ for the visitors.
Every house of the village and all parts of the streets will be illuminated with solar electricity. The puja pandel will be decorated with jute, terracotta, mats and other items produced by the members of the self help groups. Women run village Panchayet office will be the office of the Puja Committee. Medical assistance will be rendered from Primary Health Center. The security personnel will be properly trained women members of the groups.
This Swanirbhar pujo has some special features. These can be mentioned as follows: Pandal decoration will be done with the products of Self Helf Group, the source of Illumination is from solar energy, use of paper bags - not plastic, Pujo and Sharad fair arena will consist of-
Bridge of relation (Pujo Pandal)
Jalshaghar (Cultural Stage)
Khaibar Park (Community Kitchen)
Ora Kaj Kore (Production Center)
Swayambhara (Exhibition and selling point)
Friends with us (Other stalls)
Poetry one enterprise too (Discussion forum on Self Help)
This will be the only pujo of West Bengal where you can feel environment consciousness. Almost everywhere the usage of plastic will be prohibited. Women groups will sell food products from the community kitchen “Khaibar Park” using shaal leaf made plates and bowls. Swayambhara will use paper bags of their own make.
The catch line if you want to say so is – ‘Self reliance, technology and entrepreneurship together – our vision’.
How to Go: From CIT more you have to take Beleghata main road. Nearest location is Beleghata Bidyut Sangha Ground (Near Ragini Cinema).
Key persons: Smt. Urmi pal Chowdhury / Shri. Shuvo Basu.