Durga Puja in Singapore: SIPA gets a hearty shoutout from quiz guru Siddhartha Basu as festive fervour rises

With less than a month to go for Bengalis everywhere to welcome Maa Durga, the community in Singapore, too, is feeling the surge in festive fervour. Durga Puja 2023 (October 20-24), as celebrated by the Singapore Indian Puja Association (SIPA), has the themes of ‘sustainability’, ‘equality’, and ‘inclusivity’.

Renowned Indian quizmaster Siddhartha Basu praises SIPA and its contribution to Singapore society in a video message. Photo courtesy: SIPA

These themes, which represent SIPA’s efforts to make Durga Puja as meaningful as possible for the wider community in Singapore, have been given a hearty shoutout by the renowned Indian quizmaster Siddhartha Basu, host of Quiz Time, a landmark show on Indian television, and later of Mastermind India and University Challenge.

Also read: Durga Puja in Singapore: Bengali community returns to the festival with themes of sustainability, equality, inclusivity

Basu, who is Bengali, has created a Durga Puja quiz for SIPA and commended the Association on a special video. He says in the video: “I would like to extend my warmest greetings and heartfelt support to all of you for the forthcoming Durga Puja celebrations.” He then commends SIPA for its “efforts in organising and bringing together the community to celebrate this significant event for the second time”.

SIPA is praised by Basu for playing a “vital role in fostering a sense of belonging and cultural pride in the community”. The Association, he adds, contributes to the “multi-cultural tapestry of Singapore”.

Durga Puja is the worship of shakti, the divine feminine energy, and women are at the forefront of the festivities. Photo courtesy: SIPA

The theme of sustainability sees SIPA reusing its idol from 2022 and eliminating single-use plastic from the celebrations in order to minimise the festival’s carbon footprint.

The themes of equality and inclusivity see the empowerment of women, as SIPA sources all its Durga Puja décor material from Indian artisans and craftsmen, “all of whom are women entrepreneurs from small-scale industries”, according to the organisers. “This initiative not only enhances the aesthetics of our celebration, but also supports and uplifts these dedicated artisans,” says SIPA.

Reusing the Durga idol and sourcing puja décor material from Indian artisans and craftsmen, all women entrepreneurs, make the SIPA celebrations sustainable and inclusive. Photo courtesy: SIPA

In addition, the Association shuns hierarchical roles in its Durga Puja celebrations, with every SIPA member designated only “volunteer” — all are equal here. This gives every member a sense of great pride and involvement, no matter what the quantum of their contribution.

All are equal: Every SIPA member is designated volunteer, with no hierarchical structure. Photo courtesy: SIPA
Prasad and bhog are available to all, regardless of membership, at the Durga Puja organised by SIPA. Photo courtesy: SIPA

“Our doors and hearts are open to everyone, [a] member or not. We ensure that prasad and bhog are available to all, reflecting our mission of affability and solidarity,” says a SIPA statement.