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Puja pandal in Patna highlights flood situation

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: October 7, 2019  | 14:32 IST

By Kunal Dutt (Eds: adding photo) Patna, Oct 7 (PTI) A Durga Puja pandal in the old city area of the Bihar capital -- known for its unique thematic tableaux -- has highlighted the Patna flood situation this time around with posters showing people wading through chest-deep water and carrying belongings on their heads The pandal mounted by nearly a century-old Rashtriya Puja Samiti in Patna City's Balkishunganj area showcases a striking 'Bharat Mata' in shining white saree with a ferocious lion standing guard behind her. Patna City is the old, historic region of Patna where city's medieval and colonial-era heritage lives side by side. This area, located on a higher plain, compared to rest of the capital, was not affected by the flooding and so a large number of pandals have been put up here. “We were fortunate that Patna City was not flooded. But, we know what people have been going through in Rajendra Nagar, Kankerbagh, Nala Road, S K Puri, Bazaar Samiti in the flood. And, life continue to be hellish in Rajendra Nagar, where filthy water is still stagnated. So, we decided to highlight this issue as the civic body has totally failed,” said Rohit Yadav, one of the organisers. The pandal situated on the famous Ashok Raj Path shows a standing idol of 'Bharat Mata; in a standing posture, a tradition the Samiti has followed for the last 20 years, he said. For highlighting the Patna flood situation, a poster, done ironically in water colour and titled 'Patna Barh', has been put up depicting people wading through chest-deep water in streets carrying belongings on their heads and houses affected by the water. A signboard, mentioning names of affected areas has also been shown.      Yadav, who was offering prasad to devotees and visitors at the pandal, said, “We are not just depicting the situation for the sake of it. We feel bad for the people stranded in their home for days, since the flooding began on September 30 after incessant rains. We also provided food and other relief material to them”. He pulls out his mobile phone and shows a video of a street in Rajnedra Nagar, when the area was drowned in chest-deep water, which had now come down to knee-level. “We had used a makeshift boat made of wood to navigate through the waters, the situation was very grim, it is still bad, corporation should have had a proper drainage planning before the monsoon,” Yadav said. Nearly 100 people have died in flood-related incidents in Bihar. Besides the flood situation, the pandal shows a tableau which shows in a series, black-and-white images of the late former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and several political stalwarts who have died in the last months - senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra. “We wanted to remember these leaders and so we decide the theme this puja, and our artist has done an excellent job. Besides, this year marks 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji, so we have also paid tributes to the Mahatma through an artwork,” Sanjay Kumar, a co-organiser, told PTI. Next to the tableau is a personification of inflation and situation of the economy, titled 'Mehngai' depicted with a green-coloured demon eating away 'roti', 'kapda', 'makan' and 'janta'. Next to is shown a caricature of a man being bitten by a big mosquito to highlight the dengue scare the city is facing post the flooding, he said. Kumar said, before 2000, 'Mother India' idol was shown in a different way, with a map of India laid on the ground showing all states and mountains and clouds in the backdrop of her image. Patna City area is known for its thematic pandals and, a Durga Ma at Nanmuhiya is shown riding a giant elephant while a small lion stands next to her feet. In Baoli area, 'Bharat Mata' has been shown standing on a globe and blessings people, and drew a lot of crowd on Mahaashtami on Sunday night. PTI KND DV DV DV

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