Tribute to creative genius of Bengal

40 student-judges will visit over 100 Puja pandals and decide winners for MP Birla Puja Utkarsh Samman 2019

The MP Birla Puja Utkarsh Samman is a distinctive award initiative, which will encourage the future generations to be aware of our heritage and the creative genius of Bengal, said the mentors at the briefing session for 40 student-judges of South Point High School and MP Birla (HS) School on September 27, 2019.

The student-judges will visit more than 100 Puja pandals on Panchami evening (October 3), and identify the Best Idol, Best Pandal, Best Ambience and the 'Puja with a Heart' initiative for the 21st MP Birla Puja Utkarsh Samman 2019.

At the mentoring session, Soumen Mitra, IPS, ADG & IGP, Training, West Bengal; Amita Dutta, Eminent Kathak exponent; and Dr Purba Sengupta, Research Scholar, among others, explained to the student-judges the aspects like aesthetics of the Puja, art and craft of idol-making, fire safety, traffic management, the mythological aspects of the Puja and the significance of the rituals.

The purpose was to prepare them for their unique assignment. The mentors appreciated the initiative, involving young minds.

The distinct award scheme, involving students, was introduced in 1999, at the behest of Priyamvada Birla, to highlight the cultural and social relevance of Durga Puja in Bengal. The late Chairperson of the MP Birla Group, Birla, born and brought up in Bengal, was an avid connoisseur of Bengal's literature, art and culture, and had high reverence and regard for Bengal.

She had felt that the Samman would make tomorrow's citizens aware of the finer aspects of the Puja and also inculcate in them awareness about Bengal's culture and heritage.

The 'Puja with a Heart' Award has been introduced to identify selfless service by the community Puja organisers to create happiness in the lives of our fellow-citizens. How the puja committees contribute to improving life in their neighbourhood and the lives of the less privileged around the year will be reflected in the scorecard.

Armed with digital tablets to record their scores for each Puja, the student-judges will be escorted by faculty members of both the schools and non-teaching staff. The shortlisted pujas will be ranked on the basis of fixed criteria for each of the aspects. The scores, recorded by the student-judges, will be digitally transmitted on real-time basis and tabulated to ascertain the final verdict. The names of the award winners will be announced on Sasthi afternoon (October 4).

The awards, comprising cash, medallion, angavastra, Certificate of Excellence, and the MP Birla Award trophy, will be presented at a befitting ceremony on July 4,


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