Arun K. Ghosh, USA
We have grown in numbers and so are the number of Puja Committees. One key factor for this growth is the lack of unity among us.
In my experience, the puja in itself is not that important. What is important: Entertainment and Food. Out of these two items, entertainment is of paramount importance. We must have performers /stars/artists ( henceforth performers), so-called crowd-pullers at a very reasonable rate of thousands, sometimes 12, 14, 20 thousands or more. The price may depend on the performers’ credentials. Of course, most often, to get these performers, we have to go through promoters or middlemen. Does anyone know how much money the performers get and how much the promoters keep for themselves? Do we have any idea, how many promoters are involved in any particular transaction? By the way, besides the usual fees, the puja committees have other incidental expenses and headaches. There are instances where few of these performers performed very poorly. But we have to pay and that’s why, one reason, maybe, I feel, promoters ask money upfront. But Puja committees must have performers as if their honor and dignity depend on it. Oh, Ma Durga! What’s happening?
Don’t we have any talents in the USA or Canada? Why these puja committees do not actively promote them, I mean our kids and grown-up adults? I am absolutely sure that we have enough talents (performers) in the USA and Canada.
My suggestions are: The entertainment budget should be equal to the food budget. In case of puja celebration for three days ( Friday, Saturday and Sunday), Saturday could be reserved for one foreign performer and the other two days for local talents ( kids and adults living in the USA or Canada). In places where puja is celebrated for two days, one day for local talents and one for foreign performers.
For one-day puja celebrations let us enjoy local talents and ” Bangali Adda”. I skipped mentioning the pujas that are held for several days according to our “Panjika” in our temples and maybe elsewhere.