Basanta Utsav celebrations

Locals at Nischinda spend the morning of Dol Jatra at Nischinda's Basanta Utsav celebrations held every year for the past 13 years.

Children dressed up for Basanta Utsav at Nischinda

Thirteen years ago, Nischinda Basanta Utsav Committee was formed by a group of cultural enthusiasts in this part of Bally, Howrah. The aim was to celebrate the festival of colours and the coming of spring through a variety of events and programmes. Soukhin Pranesh Chandra Das, Milan Karmakar, Raju Ghosh and Biswanath Nandy were the initiators of the committee that has almost 500 people, including various local cultural organisations under its umbrella.

This year, too, the annual Dol Jatra or Basanta Utsav celebration took place on March 21 with myriad colourful programmes including playing with abir. It started with a prabhat feri, or early morning procession around the locality that ended at the playground of the Nischinda school. A congregation of nearly 600 people arrived at the school where the festival was celebrated by playing with abir, dance, music followed by lunch. A cultural programme was also held in the evening. “We promote playing with natural abir and do not allow people to use chemical colours at this programme. We have been organising this Basanta Utsav for the past 13 years and it has gradually become a very popular event in the locality. Everyone looks forward to it every year,” said Pranesh. “I come to play Dol with my friends at this programme every year. We enjoy it as there are so many people and its great fun,” said Sohini, a young girl who had joined in the festivities.

Women pose after playing with abir