Kolkata, 18th October, 2023: Every year, Hazra Park Durgotsab surprises the audience by bringing forward new ideas. This Puja of South Kolkata has come up with an eye-catching theme ‘Teen Chakar Golpo’ (Tale of 3 Wheels) this time. Hazra Park Durgotsab which turns 81 this year is celebrating with a theme related to a chauffeur of an autorickshaw – “Teen Chakar Golpo” which was inaugurated by: Janab Firhad Bobby Hakim, Hon’ble Mayor of Kolkata; Sri. Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, Minister of Agriculture, Govt of WB; Sri. Baiswanor Chatterjee, MMIC, KMC; Sri. Sayan Deb Chatterjee, Joint Secretary of Hazra Park Durgotsab Committee & many other eminent personalities.
Kolkata, the City of Joy, which used to be somewhat easy-going in the past, is ever-changing and constantly evolving at present, to keep pace with the extreme dynamism across all borders in this contemporary world. We are thus living now in a fast-paced city with our ardent desires in mind and we have not learned to step back. While autorickshaw drivers are juggling different roles as a parent, a spouse or a son, another important role – that of a chauffeur of an autorickshaw with three wheels. They earn a meagre amount of toiling day and night, but they know how to keep their parents and children happy with all that they have. But, every night, while sleeping on their torn blankets they cannot refrain themselves from dreaming about earning lakhs someday
Speaking to the media, Sri. Sayan Deb Chatterjee, Joint Secretary of Hazra Park Durgotsab Committee said, “We have a negative feeling about auto drivers. But we never want to know about their daily struggles, the difficulties, their family life, their ambitions and dreams. The pandal recreates the auto stand, surrounded by local buildings, auto parts etc. From the familiar role of auto drivers competing against each other to net passengers and haggling for exact fares, we present their humane side, working 24×7 to feed their families while juggling roles as a parent, a spouse or a son. Though their daily earnings are meagre, they try to keep their families happy and put in all that they can for the good education of their kids. We have also depicted their stories in voice-overs.”
Who would like to listen to this tale of three wheels of ours? We are called by various names by the passengers who take a ride in our vehicles – uncle, auto, dada and so on…. We will drive through the city streets and the alleys defying severe weather conditions and keep on transporting passengers from one place to another indefinitely whether you all admit our commitment to our job or not. This festive season the auto rickshaw drivers will be on their way with the immense love and support extended to them by the Hazra Park Durgotsav committee.
About Hazra Park Durgotsab: The Puja in Hazra Park has its own significance and pride. There was a time when Durga Puja was mainly done in palaces or houses of noble and high caste families. People of lower castes were not even allowed to enter these Pujas and give offering to Goddess. It was beyond imagination for these under-privileged people. Family Pujas slowly gave way to “Barowaari” or community ones but it still had a long way to become “Sarbojanin” or secular. The caste disposition of those days considered the Harijans / Mahtars to be unclean since they were employed by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation to clean open pit latrines and the city’s sewage system and therefore were restricted to enter Puja Pandals.
This was when this Puja started in 1942 with the support from Calcutta Municipal Corporation. This Puja was open for the common masses, under-privileged, backward classes and Harijans. Earlier, this Puja was held at Bhowanipore which shifted to Hazra Park in 1945. People from backward classes could participate freely in the Puja, which still continues today. Even today, as a tradition, about 1000 Harijans are seated and personally served with Bhog and Prasad by the committee members. This is a symbol of respect for the generations who have kept the city clean for years. It is also a powerful statement that despite one’s birth, every man is created equal and should be treated the same.