By Arnab Mitra
Kolkata: Durga Puja, the grand festival of the Bengalis, started yesterday with Mahalaya. As per the tradition, the lazy Bengalis wake up early on the morning of ‘Mahalaya’ to the songs of Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s ‘Mahisashur Mardini’, and with the reckon of a festive flavor that will last for a week.
But does the arrival of Maa Durga bring happiness to every Bengali? Here is a NewsGram exclusive report from Kalyanbrata Sangha, in Uluberia, a place 50 kms away from Kolkata.
NewsGram spoke to the poor students of the school and their teacher and almost everyone expressed the same sentiment: “Pujo amader jonyo noy” (Puja is not for us).
Arnab Mitra: What is the essence of Puja to the children of your school?
Head Master Mintu Kumar Sapooi : Unlike their rich friends in the city, these children get very few opportunities to enjoy during the Puja. They receive new dresses every year from various organizations and we arrange for them a Puja trip to Kolkata with the help of the group Any Body Can Donate (ABCD).
Mintu Kumar Sapooi: No, it is the society who should feel sorry for the conditions of these children. The education is only for the rich and not for the poor. We don’t even have infrastructure in our school to give proper education to these children.
Arnab Mitra: Why do you think so? The Government’s ‘Mid Day Meal’ scheme is to attract the students to Schools.
Mintu Kumar Sapooi: To me, it is just a propaganda of the government and nothing else. My point is, do such students even come to the school to learn? I doubt, because you need to understand that the project ‘Mid Day meal’ does not have any relation with education. Such students come to school for food and not for education.
Arnab Mitra: Does Puja makes any sense to these poor children?
Mintu Kumar Sapooi: The Children know that they have a bleak future, their parents can’t pay for their higher education and bribe to get a good job. Puja, Cricket, Music, or Cinema do not make any sense to them as they are living in a hapless bourgeois society.
When NewsGram asked the students about their wish to Maa Durga, they pleaded “A better world for us”.