CyberFair Project ID: 8580

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Durga Puja, Awakening of the Mother...
Category: 8. Local Music and Art Forms

School: Lakshmipat Singhania Academy
    Kolkata, West Bengal, India

40 students, ages 8 to 10 and 16 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 9, 2021. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Classes and Teachers: Jayati Goswami, Aloka Sen Sharma, Amritah Sen, Sudakshina Datta from classes III to V

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

darkest of the streets are lit up with glittering lights. Kolkata, a populous and vibrant city, thrives amid seemingly insurmountable economic, social and political problems. The city’s energy penetrates even to the poorest areas, where people live far removed from the cultural milieu. Kolkata can be defined as an archive colonial heritage; a birthplace of great ideas, great minds and revolutionaries; a dense convergent flux of diverse ethnicities. The city of Kolkata lives on in the hearts of its millions of residents who take pride in being called Calcuttans and arouses an abiding nostalgia in the minds of those who have lived here. This website represents a concoction of all the elements that builds up the eons of richness in the culture of Kolkata by reflecting upon the essence of Durga puja, the festival that celebrates the goddess Durga, all the while encouraging the sparks of the age-old creativity to shine brighter than ever.

2. Summary of Our Project

We, the students of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, have come up with this project to delve deeper into the essence of Durga Puja, a festival that transcends age, border, boundaries and unites all together. Durga Puja commemorates the homecoming of Goddess Durga. Durga puja, also referred to as ‘Sharadiya’, is not merely a festival. It’s much more than just a celebration; it is a gamut of intense emotions. Goddess Durga, the most revered among all our Gods and Goddesses, is an epitome of strength and valour. An earthen image is made of Goddess Durga with her consort and family members, adorned like a princess with intricate fineries. During this festival, people experience a wave of euphoria that goes beyond customs and rituals. The ‘pujo pujo gandho’ is an experience a Bengali will always cherish. Interestingly, when one utters these words, the montage that conjures up before a Bengali would be the sweet smell of ‘shiuli’ flowers, the idols of Maa Durga taking shape at Kumortuli, shopping for new garments, scrumptious delicacies and so on. Crowds throng to the majestic ‘pandals’ and our City of Joy comes alive and is abuzz with the unrelenting beating of ‘dhaaks’, thus ushering in a season of festivities and celebration. Essentially, Durga Puja is what every Bengali grows up with and grows old with. It connects nearly every Bengali living on this planet. The excitement revolving around this joyous festival remains unfazed through eons; it defines the ethos and culture of Kolkata. Hailing from the City of Joy, we revel in the sheer mysticism that encompasses the festival of Durga Puja and thus wish to uphold the same through our project. Our earnest endeavour is to bring forth the quintessential elements that are synonymous with the festival of Durga Puja through the various artistic representations made by our academy.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Covid-19 has had a volcanic impact on all of us – learners, teachers, parents and world leaders. The shock waves of this eruption have compelled us all to embrace a virtually real education world that is plagued by challenges. Under these extraordinary circumstances, we too found it an uphill task to assimilate the information gathered in order to compile the project. Our project on Durga Puja was an arduous task that demanded a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter. The minuscule details pertaining to this grand festival, starting from the significance of each weapon of the Goddess to the celebration of this festival had to be looked into with utmost care. We did not want to go wrong in our depiction of the same. Thus, conceptualising and planning the online sessions became a daunting task. Since the compilation of the entire project was done in an online mode, availability of uninterrupted internet connection was a cause of apprehension for us throughout. It was thoroughly acknowledged by each member that cooperation and collective planning was essential for a positive outcome. However, we were undeterred by these challenges and remained focussed on our objective. With this optimism and resilience in our hearts, we managed to ride over all difficulties and successfully accomplished our desired result.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Closest to the hearts of all Bengalis, the festival of Durga Puja embellishes religiosity, spirituality and emotions. Such festivals are an intrinsic element of Indian culture; they mirror the sentiments and values of lakhs of people. Hence, it becomes essential for all of us to stay close to our roots. Embracing modernity should not mean showing disregard to our own culture. The younger generations need to take pride in preserving their rich and diverse culture. Our project is an effort to recreate the festive spirit, relive its excitement and emotion by bringing forth the myriad elements that are associated with this grand celebration called Durga Puja.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Our CyberFair project addresses the characteristic elements that are synonymous with the celebration of the Durga Puja festival. We learnt about the symbolic interpretations of all the rituals that are performed. We also could acknowledge the efforts of the civic professionals and social workers. Not only through this project we were able to showcase our pride for our culture but we were also able to enrich ourselves with the history behind the customs that we follow. Since the entire project was done on online platforms, compiling it from home was an initial learning for us all. We learned how to create a website, work together as a team in a collaborative manner in order to be productive and yield better output.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

• The pandemic made us depend a lot on different technological portals and information tools.

• PCs and laptops were essential for research, data organization and video editing purposes.

• Applications such as Google Drive, Zoom, YouTube and Video Editor were used for sharing and storing information, organizing virtual meetings, compiling and editing the videos.

• Devices like mic and headphone were necessary for effective communication and dialogue delivery, cameras were used for recording and smartphones for further research and activities.

• As an information tool, Google search engine proved to be very helpful.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Celebrating the divine femininity in a social and cultural construct is a beautiful concept to work upon. We wanted our endeavour to be both holistic and all-encompassing. This is why, as ambassadors and spokespersons, our team had students ranging from pre-school to standard 9. We wanted this essence to reach a diverse age group. For the drama named ‘Synergy’, after writing the script based on mythological data, we presented our drama on an online meeting platform. Viewers included parents and teachers. It was followed by a group discussion. Keeping visual knowledge presentation in mind, students staged a fashion show wherein they showcased the evolution of trends and fashion during the celebration of Durga Puja. Others identified, conducted interviews and collected photographs of families associated with the festival in accordance with the traditional customs of Bengal. The families were glad to share their information. Interviews with civic professionals, artisans, ‘dhaki’ community and social workers were conducted and interviewees were apprised about the theme and significance of the project. As ambassadors and spokespersons of this project, we tried to ensure that we reached out to the most that we could.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

We are glad to have created the impact that we had intended to have. The impact was first on ourselves when we became more aware about the mythological stories behind the festival celebrating Goddess Durga. Students along with the extended community became acquainted with the rich mythology backdrop behind this celebration and its relevance in the modern times. The themes of Unity in Strength in the present-day scenario struck a chord with everyone. On the other hand, the artisans, artists, sergeants of traffic police and the families celebrating the festival, felt honoured and took pride in giving their valuable inputs that helped us in the project. They were glad that the perspective of Durga Puja from different points of view across social and economic strata were being showcased. Durga Puja is celebrated all over West Bengal. It brings the community together whilst leaving a different and nuanced footprint across society. We are happy that this project made our extended community become conscious of this ‘footprint’.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, movement was quite restricted. Although we could not venture out as extensively as we wanted to, yet our teachers have been a big help and guiding light throughout the entire project by volunteering and reviewing our activities. Parent communities of our school have actively supported us throughout this endeavour in all possible ways. We appreciate that each member of the school and our elders never hesitated to lend us a helping hand. The artisans, ‘dhaki’ community, civic professionals, social workers and interviewee families were kind and assisted us in shaping our vision.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

• Discoveries: Every step involved in gathering information from the families about various traditions and their significance in the modern world was an enriching experience and a discovery in its own way. We discovered that a study of the traditions could be interpreted from the ecological, economic, architectural and even egalitarian points of view.

• Lessons: Many lessons on Life Skills were learnt from the ‘dhaki’ community, artisans and the Officers of the Kolkata Police Department. Creating beautiful idols and pandals which also have a story to tell requires skills more than one. Also, to ensure smooth functioning of the city amidst a grand celebration requires multifaceted expertise. We understood the immense work that they do and applaud for the same.

• Surprises: Our team was surprised to know that every household organizing Durga Puja has some traditions and rituals which are unique to that particular household. In some families, the animal who acts as the ‘vahana’ of Goddess Durga, isn’t necessarily the lion. The colour of the idol also has a history behind it. It ranges from white to beige and coral. The knowledge of these unique customs has indeed added an element of surprise to our learning experience.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 8580)

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