Kolkata

Here, Mamata is a puja idol along with Durga

GRANTING BOONS: The fibre glass idol of Mamata Banerjee in Prantik, West Bengal. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be “worshipped” by one group of supporters alongside goddess Durga, at this year’s Puja. Prantik, a club in Nadia district in south Bengal has come up with the plan to “worship” the politician and has placed a life size replica of the Chief Minister inside the main pandal, behind the goddess.

“The Chief Minister’s statue in her trademark blue-and-white sari and hawai choti [rubber slippers] is about five-and-a-half-feet high,” the secretary of Prantik, Saumitra Bhattacharjee told The Hindu. The Durga idol is three-and-a-half feet tall, and placed in front of Ms. Banerjee. The organisers said that they are happy to “worship” the Chief Minister alongside Durga, as Ms. Banerjee was the “human goddess.”

Mr. Bhattacharjee also said that the idea to place the Chief Minister behind Durga and worship her struck him like “a bolt from the blue” a few months ago as looked for a unique idea to draw Puja crowds.

Development and Puja

“I was wondering if we could do something connecting the idea of development with Puja,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said. The Chief Minister and her Trinamool Congress party focused on their “commitment to development” in the last Assembly election.

“Like a human goddess, she addressed the concerns of her devotees by repeatedly underscoring her commitment to development and that worked in the election. I immediately connected the Chief Minister with Durga,” the secretary said.

The Chief Minister’s idol is a close likeness, with a serious expression. Ms. Banerjee’s fibre glass idol has 12 hands, compared to the clay Durga, which has 10. While the goddess holds weapons, the politician’s hands are empty. The circular mat canvas behind the statue shows various developmental projects of her government.

Success stories on show

There are depictions of ten “success stories” of her government, such as Yuvasree [youth welfare project], ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ initiative, super speciality hospital, and Biswa Bangla along with the Singur land agitation. On the right side of Ms. Banerjee’s idol is a miniature of the abandoned Tata Motors factory shed, and on the left, the people of Singur are shown rejoicing.

“The way they are placed, if properly illuminated, the display would appear as if the Chief Minister is holding the projects,” said Sudhir Pal, the artist who designed the idol. Mr. Pal, an admirer, designed such an idol in 2011, soon after Ms. Banerjee’s first State election victory.

Indologist and expert on Bengal’s religious festivals, Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri said: “I don’t think a politician has been depicted as Durga before. But there are several instances of Durga idols being made with faces resembling film actresses.” Mr. Bhaduri said that being a “ supporter”, he could not say whether it is “right or wrong” to depict her in such a manner.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 11:34:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/Here-Mamata-is-a-puja-idol-along-with-Durga/article15161457.ece

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