From darkness to light – Stories of hope in Kolkata

From darkness to light – Stories of hope in Kolkata

November 2, 2013

Diwali is that time of the year when households are decked up with decorations; lights adore the streets and the homes alike. A celebration of light, Diwali brings with it a festive cheer that wards off all the sorrows in the world. But can light be complete without darkness?

Just like the haunting darkness beneath the lamp, many lives – and their sad tales – often go unnoticed at times of jubilant celebrations.

Team seeks to undo the wrong and spread the message of hope on this auspicious day.

Contrary to what we are often made to believe, good Samaritans are not rare in this world.

Let us enjoy the festive spirit with a few inspiring stories of how people, organisations, have made a difference in the lives of the destitute, in our very own city, and state. Here are some stories of redemption from darkness to light.

Inspiring NGOs in Kolkata

NGOs or Non Governmental Organisations have sprung up all over the globe, especially in cities and urban regions. There are different kinds of NGOs actively involved in different areas or work fields. These are basically a kind of voluntary organisation that works for any social cause with an aim of bettering the society. They are charitable organisations which raise the fund through campaigning or requesting the people to denote generously.

They function independently from the Government within their jurisdiction and by abiding the laws of their country. First things first, a NGO should necessarily be government registered. It should have the permit license obtained from the concerned authorities to work in the specific field. The term originated from United Nations. The numbers of NGO is increasing with the passing of each day. According to the latest statics, around three and a half million NGOs are actively operating in India.

The city of Kolkata has all possible colours of life that one can probably think of. Fun, festivity, music art dance and theatre are somewhat like synonyms of Kolkata. Celebrations just never ever end here and the vivacious crowd of Kolkata loves to celebrate life to its fullest. And unlike elsewhere, Kolkata loves to involve the downtrodden in their festivities.

Megher Kole Rod Hesheche

On the 6th of October, Sunday, Rongin Sopno, a Facebook-based group started by young Kolkatans distributed new clothes to 850+ kids in North Kolkata under the banner "Megher Kole Rod Hesheche". The project is unique considering the use of the popular social networking site to organise, update and carry out projects from time to time. The group is now 1500 strong and carries such projects without getting any corporate funding.

The program on the 6th of October started near Dum Dum station and ended near Amherst Street's Holy Trinity Church.

The Durga Puja project was carried out to spread smiles to those who cannot afford new clothes.

Second innings at home

This Durga Puja was also a notable one for several Bengali widows in Vrindavan. Thanks to the initiative taken by an NGO Sulabh International, some 50 widows from Vrindavan flew down to Kolkata to join the Durga Puja festivities.

Courtesy NGO Sulabh International, the women had been invited by several puja samitis to inaugurate puja pandals in their home State. The sojourn was aimed at helping the women break free of the stigma attached to widowhood - in rural West Bengal, widows are kept away from auspicious ceremonies.

Be the change you wish to see

Formed with the aim of promoting leadership, the Non Profit Organisation Prantakatha aims at creating and sustaining "change" through helping "Change Leaders" to develop across sectors. Prantakatha co-creates hundreds of “change initiatives” led by individual(s), but with fundamental focus lying on that “change agent(s)”. Thus at the core of Prantakatha’s effort lies individual stories of pain transformed into power.

Only recently, Prantakatha helped in funding Subhanjan Saha, a 21 year old computer science student at Manindra Chandra College, in designing a drone, which could help in upgrading India’s weaponry.

New Light for Nirbhayas

A prominent NGO in Kolkata, which works for educating and safeguarding young girls, children and women, will soon launch a campaign to request the President to declare December 16 as Nirbhaya Divas. In 2012, the barbaric gangrape of a girl in Delhi sparked off protests across the country, and Kolkata too participated in the movement for women’s rights. New Light hopes Nirbhaya Divas will become a day to observe genuine equality and foster mutual respect between the sexes.

Dialogue spanning the Rainbow

Started by the NGO Sappho for Equality and Pratyay Gender Trust, DIALOGUES was launched in 2007 as an annual cultural event in the city of Kolkata, already used to hosting diverse film and video festivals covering different genres and aspects. The festival is a celebration of writers, directors, actors and their work dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender themes and issues. Currently in its 7th year, the annual event has attained an identity of its own in the social circle of the city. The 7th edition of DIALOGUES commences this year from November 22 to 24, 2013 at the Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan.

Parting Thought

With the popularity of Non Governmental Organisations, even eminent people of the society are getting associated with them. This has enabled them to establish its link with the media organisations which has become a power medium of expressing public opinions. It needs to be seen that the NGOs properly utilise their funds and do not squander the money for personal benefits. But above all, people need to acknowledge the endeavour taken up by few good souls to make a difference to the society.

Happy Diwali. May the festival of lights encourage you to make a difference in the life of someone living in darkness.

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Comments (3)
Aurindam Mukherjee Reply
November 06, 2013
Thank you so much TeamM3 for the kind words. From everyone at Team Rongin Sopno
Team MMM
November 06, 2013
Hi Aurindam. Glad you liked the piece. Keep up the good work done by your team at Rongin Sopno :)
Indranil Reply
November 02, 2013
A really good article on a special occasion :)
Bappaditya Mukherjee Reply
November 02, 2013
Thanks Team for such a lovely and touching column on the festivals of light. This is the work of true journalism - beyond sensationalism. Keep it up... may you continue to carve this space much needed in today's society!
Team MMM
November 02, 2013
@ Bappaditya: Thanks a ton for the kind words of appreciation. Glad you liked the piece :)
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