Kolkata, the city with soul created yet another history during Durga Puja, the most close to heart and celebrated occasion of Bengal. Prantakatha, a 14 years old organization that works for the marginalised youth joined hands with Adi Ballygunge Sarbojonin Durgotsab Samity to curate a never before “Alpona Ceremony” painted by the members of the LGBTQI community of Kolkata. The initiative is a symbol of celebration to mark the first year anniversary of the abolition of IPC 377 in India. Eminent personalities like Sujay Prasad Chatterjee, Sudeshna Roy and Sudarshan Chakraborty was also present to celebrate the Shakti of the commoners.
A unique street graffiti was curated by LGBTQI community led by transgender women Achintya and supported by a group of highly talented Muslim youths along with the members of the puja committee. A special selfie Kiosk booth was created bearing the flag of pride and celebrating the anniversary of repealing IPC 377. A separate stall was also set up portraying the 20 years long struggle against IPC 377 and 150+ years of revolution in Bengali cultural social life through folklore like vadu, tusu, alcap, gajan where gender binary has always been broken. To make the celebration truly inclusive, the puja committee invited LGBTQI members along with friends or in couples to spend time and celebrate with everyone else.
“For the first time, in the first anniversary of liberation from 377, a sabeki pujo of Kolkata embraces the LGBTQ community in their 70 th year celebration. This is historic in the sense durga puja being the festivity of inclusion, this community is included positively, affectionately, authentically” said Mr. Bappaditya Mukherjee, Founder and Director of Pranthakatha.
Adi Ballygunge Sarbojonin Durgotsab Samity, an eminent Durga Puja Committee of South Kolkata celebrated its 70 th year anniversary keeping the theme of their Durga Puja as #পুজোwithPride. The Puja committee believes that Durga puja is all about celebration and inclusion. The LGBTQI’s had to keep them detached from the social life and relentlessly spend their life under the shade of silence, humiliation and rejection; whereas they also deserve the same reverence as any other person on this world deserves. Determined to support the journey of LGBTQI, these organizers pledged to make a society where they can walk with their head held high.
An endeavour to light the lamp of joy in the souls of the sexual and gender minority community inside the Sabeki Pujo of the Old Kolkata and enlighten the humanity in us once more by supporting the initiative. #পুজোwithPride- the pre-puja celebration indeed started on a happy note.