Vishwakarma Puja: Roadside Celebrations, Roadside Idols

Thursday, 21 January 2021



Vishwakarma Puja: Roadside Celebrations, Roadside Idols

Sidharth Bedi Varma | September 21, 2019 15:18 hrs

As the festivities of Vishwakarma Puja come to an end, it leaves behind a familiar trail of idols along the roadside. Roadside of course is not just restricted to dividers or footpaths, but also along the embankments of Guwahati’s Bharalu River. This, added with the wonderful taste in music from each pandal, adds an unforgettable flavor to Vishwakarma Puja celebrations (sarcasm). The playlist ranges from Shakira’s “Waka Waka” to the best of Himesh and then closes with the devotees in tears, because Arijit Singh blares across the neighborhood. 

However, the pomp and fervor with which this festival is celebrated is not met with good management of the celebrations.

If the administration is aware of drunk and disorderly conduct at the pandals, should they not be monitored by the police? Also, just because it is a ‘puja’, how are all other rules ignored? Pandals started their celebrations from 7 am in the morning and continued well past 10 pm, which is the deadline for playing music on loudspeakers (as per an order issued by the Supreme Court of India in 2005).

In violation of such “green norms”, several idols from various pandals continue to be lying around the city. Small puja pandals are set up in various localities, without the appropriate permissions, which then flout several norms and harass the citizens. In such cases, these pandals should be penalized and their licenses cancelled for future celebrations.

Collections of chandas also plague this season as Viswakarma Puja will be swiftly followed by Durga Puja. Small leaflet bearing “locals” will head to business establishments and say, “If you don’t participate now, it would be difficult to gel with you later.”

But then again, as a pessimist, I tend to see the wrong in such celebrations.

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