The 13th edition of Parle Saraswati Vandana – state level inter school competition organised by Parle Products Ltd – biscuits and confectionaries manufacturer – on the occasion of Saraswati Puja on Tuesday, witnessed participation from nearly 650 schools across West Bengal.
Instituted by Parle Centre for Excellence in 2002 with an objective to promote talent, the Parle Saraswati Vandana 2014, saw various interesting themes being presented by schools. The program involves rewarding the most creative ways that schools pay tribute to Goddess Saraswati, said Bhavin Panchamia, Product Manager, Parle.
Schools from Kolkata, Howrah, Siliguri, Durgapur, Asansol, Kharaghpur, Midnapore, Serampore, Chinsura, Chandannagar, Baruipur, Belghoria, Madhyamgram, Barrackpore, Burdwan, Bolpur, Krishnanagar, Behrampur, Malda, Ranaghat, and Raigunj participated in the event.
The panel of judges visited the participating schools. The winners will be selected and announced in the first week of March based on their creativity and originality in conducting various aspects of the Puja including pandal décor, idol, crowd, ambience, discipline, devotion, decoration, craft work and the overall appeal of the Puja. “Saraswati Puja is a big event and close to every student’s heart, as she is the goddess of knowledge and music. There is a lot of enthusiasm amongst schools to participate in the event.
At the onset, in 2002, we had less than 100 schools in Kolkata participating in the contest.
But then as years progressed, the event started getting more popular. Every year we scaled up the event and opened more centres across the state. We are covering the whole state of West Bengal and Parle Saraswati Vandana has now become a state-level competition. Last year we witnessed a participation of more than 600 schools,” Panchamia said.
There has also been a marked improvement in the level of creativity of students, which has got redefined over the years because of the kind of exposure they get.
“This is a platform where students go beyond their curriculum, and put to display their imagination and talent. They take care of each and every thing like lighting, idol, decoration, craft work, crowd, ambience, discipline and the overall appeal,” he said.
According to Jagannath Basu, one of the judges for the competition, schools showcased various themes including the mythological origin of Saraswati and stories on the Goddess of knowledge as described in the Puranas among others. “The creativity and skills of these children is beyond imagination. Some of the students exhibited great skills in decorating their school premises, some schools also organized science exhibitions and other such fairs,” he said.
Apart from giving cash prizes to its winners, the company will also conduct a Magazine competition where students will be given topics to write on.