Three community puja committees in the city are installing Braille display board this year to help the visually impaired pandal hoppers feel and enjoy the grandeur of the festival without depending on volunteers to explain it to them.
The facility will enable them to know in detail about the décor and the idol by touching the surface of the Braille display board.
Hazra Park Durgotsab Committee, State Bank Park in Thakurpukur, and Young Boys Club in the Chitpur area are installing a Braille display stand which will be placed on one side of the pandal.
Another popular puja, Shiv Mandir Sarbajanin on Lake Temple road in south Kolkata, will be installing a Braille board for the fifth year in a row.
Joint Secretary of Hazra Park Sarbojonin Durgotsab Committee Sayan Deb Chatterjee said, “During Durga puja when everybody wants to have fun, we decided to enable the visually challenged people to soak themselves in the festival spirit.
“Braille watch, Braille calculator, and Braille thermometer have been developed to help the visually impaired in their daily activities. It is now time to make them participate in Bengal’s biggest festival. ” Spokesperson of Shiv Mandir Sarbajanin puja committee and one of the founder members of the Forum for Durgotsab, Partha Ghosh, said “We had introduced the Braille board at our Durga puja pandal in 2018 as we had long felt the need to make people with different abilities like the visually impaired enjoy and appreciate the celebrations by themselves.” Despite low-key puja celebrations in the earlier two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Shiv Mandir puja organisers had put up a Braille board near the pandal in 2020 and 2021.
“The visually challenged have keen sensitivity and they can have a feel of the place in the best possible way if we can incorporate the details of the pandal, theme, and deity in Braille format. We had understood the significance of such a move way back in 2018. The Forum for Durgotsab will also ask its members to adopt more such steps in the coming years,” Ghosh said.
Over 200 Durga puja Committees have taken initiatives for senior citizens and physically challenged people during pandal hopping this year, Ghosh said