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Durga Puja pandal brings Tagore to life!

October 06, 2016 11:04 IST

A Durga Puja pandal in New Delhi turns literature into art.

IMAGE: A sculpture of Rabindranath Tagore inside the pandal.
Don't miss the Saheb, Bibi and Ghulam structures in the backgroung made from plaster of Paris and paper-mache.
All Photographs: Kind courtesy Milani Samiti, New Delhi.

Rabindranath Tagore's wonderland from Tasher Desh (a dance drama) will come alive at a Durga Puja pandal in New Delhi, which this year is recreating the Nobel Laureate's popular dance drama.

The dance opera, which Tagore wrote in 1898, portrays society in a satirical light by using the metaphor of playing cards to capture the sterility of caste and class.

Milan Samiti's pandal in Mayur Vihar, East Delhi, has been made out of similar cards and takes one back to the wild, unfettered and chaotic land that Tagore portrayed in his play, over a century ago.

"The pandal is made out of playing cards, 3'x2' in size. We have added elements like butterflies and grasshoppers to the decor to reproduce the wilderness of the original settings," says Mrinal Biswas, general secretary, Milani Samiti.

IMAGE: The unique decor of the Milan Samiti panda -- Its Durga Puja celebrates its silver jubilee this year -- designed by Delhi sculptor Sudip Ranjan Raut.

The pandal will house 25 sculptures of Saheb, Bibi and Ghulam in plaster of Paris and paper-mache, created by Delhi sculptor Sudip Ranjan Raut.

The theme, conceptualised by Biswas and another member of the committee, was chosen to celebrate Tagore and his Nobel Prize winning book of poems Gitanjali that was first published in 1912.

The gate to the pandal is a recreation of the facade of the poet's iconic Shilaidaha Kuthibadi in Kushtia district in present day Bangladesh where Tagore lived a part of his life and translated Gitanjali from Bengali to English.

"We have made the gate like his house in Bangladesh -- pyramid in shape with three stories, in brick, timber and tin sheets," says Biswas.

Take a look at the pandal in the video below.

Tagore also wrote some memorable verse -- Sonar Tari, Katha-o-Kahini, Chitra and Chaitali -- in this house.

The traditional Durga idol with long drawn eyes was created by Tapan Chitrakar, a local artisan.

The music and food will be in accordance with the theme, with popular Bengali singer Saumya Bose inaugurating the festivities with three of the most popular songs from Tasher Desh. The daily bhog prasad will be a combination of some of Tagore's favourite delicacies.

IMAGE: The wonderful idols of Durga Maa and her children.

The Milan Samiti committee has a budget of Rs 60 lakhs (Rs 6 million) for the celebrations this year, of which Rs 13 lakhs (Rs 1.3 million) was spent on curating the pandal alone.

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