Blind-friendly deity sculpture made from 1,200 nails and 20,000 screws helps the visually impaired ‘see’ Durga Puja

  • The Samaj Sebi Sangha came up with an innovative idea to devote their 73rd puja celebration to the blind by creating a Durga pandal with nails and threads.
  • The creators want people to enter the space and feel the texture of the sculpture.
  • The committee has also made sure that the visually impaired and pregnant women do not need a separate entry card for VIP entrance.
Have you ever seen a sculpture made entirely of nails and that too with a purpose? Durga Puja is one of the most widely celebrated Hindu festivals in India. And, during this year’s Durga Puja, one of the organising committees in Kolkata, the Samaj Sebi Sangha, decided to take things up a notch by constructing a Durga idol so that even the visually impaired can experience the statue.

Breaching the usual norms of a Durga Puja pandal - to not to touch the artefacts - Samaj Sebi committee has been motivating people to touch Durga’s face instead. It’s an initiative to promote inclusive celebration and they even devoted their 73rd puja to the sightless and the blind. The sculpture of Durga has been put together using 20,000 screws and 1,200 nails at the entrance of the pandal. Though not the whole Durga, the sculpture has the face and the eyes of the goddess.

The committee has also carved out a wall display with different thread patterns to form words like ‘Ma’ and ‘Jai Maa Durga’. The visually impaired are also being provided with a puja itinerary with in-depth information about the details of festivals in Braille.

In a conversation with Business Insider India, Chandan Basu from Samaj Sebi Sangha said, “We have created this pandal for the visually impaired people so that they can feel the Durga Puja. We also wanted to educate the general people to donate their eyes after death to give light to the visually impaired. Samaj sebi sangha always pass a social message every year.”

Samaj Sebi also partnered with Voice of the world to help visually impaired children enjoy the festival. Moreover, it has set up an eye donation camp with M.P Birla Eye bank near the pandal. According to Samaj Sebi, 85 people have already pledged to donate their eyes.

And it’s not just about the visually impaired. The Samaj Sebi Sangha has provided wheelchair and stretcher facilities for the old as well as differently-abled people. The surprise doesn’t end here.The puja committee also encouraged visually impaired children to perform in the cultural evening conducted on 16th October 2016 at the puja premises.

This isn’t the first time that the committee has been in the news for its innovative approach towards Durga Puja. Just last year their display garnered appreciation for being India’s longest ‘Alpona’, which is a type of graffiti made in India using rice flour paste.

Here is a glimpse of the creative Durga Puja concept

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Durga Sculpture carved with nails and screws

Durga Sculpture carved with nails and screws

An artwork signifying hands as the eye of blind

An artwork signifying hands as the eye of blind

Durga Idol inside pandal

Durga Idol inside pandal

A glimpse inside the Durga puja pandal

A glimpse inside the Durga puja pandal

Eye donation camp set up by Samaj Sebi Sangha and M.P Birla Eye bank

Eye donation camp set up by Samaj Sebi Sangha and M.P Birla Eye bank
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